Tuesday, 23 November 2010
Dáil Éireann Debate
Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív): The supplementary welfare allowance scheme is administered by the Community Welfare Division of the Health Service Executive (HSE) on behalf of the Department. Under the current arrangement where a person is not satisfied with a decision in relation to their entitlement to supplementary welfare allowance, they can appeal this decision to an Appeals Officer in the HSE. In addition, the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 provides for a further appeal to be considered by the Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO). It is assumed that this is the two-step appeals process to which the Deputy refers. The appeals process in the case of the schemes administered by the Department differs in so far as there is only one right of appeal and that is to the Social Welfare Appeals Office. However, the Department process also involves a review of the case by a deciding officer before it is forwarded to the SWAO.
When the Community Welfare Service is transferred to my Department, the HSE Appeals Office will no longer have a role in relation to the supplementary welfare allowance scheme. Instead it is proposed that appealable decisions will be dealt with by the Social Welfare Appeals Office in the same way as for other schemes administered by my Department.
The legislative provisions relating to the supplementary welfare allowance appeals process were provided for in the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2007. These provisions are subject to a Commencement Order.
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