Written Answers - Social Welfare Benefits.

Wednesday, 13 October 2004

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 590 No. 2

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  199.  Mr. Ring  Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring   asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs  Information on Seamus Brennan  Zoom on Seamus Brennan   the waiting times for claims to be processed in all areas of social welfare, including benefits and allowance in each section. [24738/04]

Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan  Zoom on Seamus Brennan  My Department aims to provide a prompt, efficient service to all our customers. Applications for social welfare payments are processed and entitlements are issued as quickly as possible having regard to the eligibility conditions which apply to each scheme.

These conditions vary from scheme to scheme. In the case of insurance based schemes the person’s contribution record must be established. For illness or disability schemes medical certification by the applicant’s own doctor is required and it may be necessary for a medical assessor of my Department to carry out an assessment to ensure the medical conditions of the scheme are fulfilled. Assistance schemes require, inter alia, an assessment of the person’s means to be carried out. This may involve a visit to the person’s home by an inspector of my Department.

The over-riding consideration in processing claims is to ensure that customers receive their correct entitlement and decisions are not taken until all appropriate information is available. Details of the average clearance times for new claims for the month of September 2004, and year to-date including September, for the main payment schemes are in the following table.

Average Weeks to Award Social Welfare Claims

Claim Type September 2004 Year to Date 2004
Old Age Contributory Pension 7.95 8.27
Retirement Pension 6.34 6.41
Widows Contributory Pension 2.98 3.62
Old Age Non-Contributory Pension 8.30 7.64
Widows Non-Contributory Pension 2.90 4.79
One Parent Family — Separated 18.48 19.61
One Parent Family — Unmarried 15.69 16.22
Household Benefits (Free schemes) 4.86 5.80
Unemployment Benefit 1.82 1.85
Unemployment Assistance 2.69 2.53
Disability Benefit 1.98 2.25
Child Benefit 1.60 1.20
Family Income Supplement 3.97 6.07
Invalidity Pension 9.49 8.83
Disability Allowance 9.99 10.21
Carer’s Allowance 15.01 14.33

[591]

  200.  Mr. Penrose  Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose   asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs  Information on Seamus Brennan  Zoom on Seamus Brennan   if his Department has received correspondence from a person (details supplied) in Dublin 2; if the concerns expressed therein will be responded to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24739/04]

Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan  Zoom on Seamus Brennan  A copy of the letter to which the Deputy refers was received in my Department recently. The principal issues raised by the person concerned relate to difficulties he appears to have [592]experienced while applying for housing as well as problems with the hostel in which he is currently residing. The hostel concerned provides accommodation for homeless people.

As these are matters for the relevant housing authority a copy of the letter has been forwarded to my colleague, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. The person concerned is currently in receipt of unemployment assistance and a rent supplement. My Department is not aware of any difficulties regarding these payments.


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