Thursday, 8 July 2010
Dáil Éireann Debate
456. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Social Protection if domiciliary care allowance will be granted in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny in view of her appeal documents; if carer’s allowance will be granted to a person (details further supplied) in County Kilkenny; if a respite grant applied for in February 2010 will be approved; and if he will expedite the matter. [31065/10]
Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív): An application for domiciliary care allowance (DCA) was received on the 24th February 2010 from the person in question. This application was referred to one of the Department’s Medical Assessors who found that her child was not medically eligible for DCA.
A letter issued on the 22nd April 2010 advising her of the decision to refuse DCA. In the case of an application which is refused on medical grounds, the applicant may submit additional information and/or ask for the case to be reviewed, or they may appeal the decision directly to the Social Welfare Appeals Office within 21 days.
In this case the applicant submitted additional medical information in respect of her claim. This was forwarded to the Social Welfare Appeals Office and they have registered an appeal. As part of the appeal process, the application will be reviewed by a Medical Assessor who will take the new medical information into consideration.
Carer’s Allowance is a social assistance payment made to persons who are providing full time care and attention to elderly people or to people with disabilities and whose income falls below certain limits. Carer’s Allowance may be payable in respect of a child under 16 years of age if DCA is in payment in respect of that child.
On 20th April 2010 the person concerned was refused Carer’s Allowance on the grounds that DCA is not in payment in respect of the care recipient. She was advised of this decision and of her right of appeal to the Social Welfare Appeal’s Office.
The Department has not received any application for respite care grant (RCG) in this case. An application form for RCG has been issued to the person in question. The grant is an automatic entitlement for anyone in receipt of DCA and will be paid automatically if the ongoing DCA appeal is successful.
458. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an appeal against a decision not to award carer’s allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; if he will grant an early oral hearing; the reason for the delay in dealing with the appeal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31176/10]
Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív): The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that, following receipt of the relevant Departmental papers including comments on the grounds of appeal, the appeal from the person concerned will be referred to an Appeals Officer for consideration. As part of this consideration the Appeals Officer will determine if an oral hearing is warranted in this case.
There has been a 46% increase in the number of appeals received by the Social Welfare Appeals Office in 2009 when compared to 2008, which in itself was 27% greater than the numbers received in 2007. There has been an increase of a further 58.8% in the number of appeals received to the end of June 2010. These increases have caused delays in the processing of appeals However, measures are being put in place to address these delays as I have previously informed the House.
The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.
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