ABOUT 27,000 needy people across NSW, including hundreds on the Northern Rivers, will have to wait until at least July to access a program that provides free glasses.
For the first time in 20 years, funding for the long-running NSW Government Spectacle Program run by Vision Care NSW has been restricted to its original budget.
The Department of Family and Community Services has previously provided overrun funding to ensure 75,000 a year benefit from the program.
Last financial year the original budget was $4.5 million, which was topped up by a $1.9 million supplementary payment.
This year there was no supplementary payment and the program was suspended in February, to resume only in the new financial year.
The Northern Star approached the Office of Family and Community Services Minister for comment but had yet to receive a response.