Written Answers - Social Welfare Appeals

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 740 No. 3

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  262.  Deputy Barry Cowen  Information on Barry Cowen  Zoom on Barry Cowen   asked the Minister for Social Protection  Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton   when a person (details supplied) in County Offaly may expect to be called for an oral hearing. [24807/11]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that the appeal from the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer who proposes to hold an oral hearing in this case. There has been a very significant increase in the number of appeals received by the Social Welfare Appeals Office since 2007 when the intake was 14,070 to 2010 when the intake rose to 32,432. This has significantly impacted on the processing time for appeals which require oral hearings and, in order to be fair to all appellants, they are dealt with in strict chronological order. In the context of dealing with the considerable number of appeals now on hand, the Department made 9 additional appointments to the office earlier this year. While every effort is being made to deal with the large numbers awaiting oral hearing as quickly as possible, it is not possible to give a date when the person’s oral hearing will be heard, but s/he will be informed when arrangements have been made. 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.

  263.  Deputy Barry Cowen  Information on Barry Cowen  Zoom on Barry Cowen   asked the Minister for Social Protection  Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton   when a person (details supplied) in County Offaly may expect a decision on an application for disability allowance. [24809/11]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 27 April 2011. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 19 May 2011 and the appeal was assigned to an Appeals Officer on 22 August 2011 who will decide whether the case can be decided on a summary basis or whether to list it for oral hearing. The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of [1027]the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

  264.  Deputy Barry Cowen  Information on Barry Cowen  Zoom on Barry Cowen   asked the Minister for Social Protection  Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton   when a person (details supplied) in County Offaly may expect a decision on an application for disability allowance. [24810/11]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I confirm that the Department received an application from the person concerned for disability allowance. Her claim was referred to one of the Department’s medical assessors who was of the opinion that the person was not medically suitable for disability allowance. The deciding officer accepted this opinion. Furthermore, she was assessed with weekly means in excess of the statutory limit for receipt of disability allowance so her claim was disallowed on two grounds. The person was notified in writing of this decision and the reasons for it on 10 February 2011.

The person subsequently appealed this decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office. Based on the evidence before him the appeals officer found that the person concerned failed to show that her weekly means did not exceed the statutory limit allowed for receipt of disability allowance and she was not substantially restricted in undertaking suitable employment by reason of a specified disability within the meaning of Social Welfare legislation and, accordingly, the appeal was not allowed. The applicant was notified of this decision in writing by the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 6 August 2011. An appeal officer’s decision is final and conclusive in the absence of any fresh facts or evidence.

  265.  Deputy Barry Cowen  Information on Barry Cowen  Zoom on Barry Cowen   asked the Minister for Social Protection  Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton   when a person (details supplied) in County Offaly may expect a decision on an appeal for disability allowance. [24811/11]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that the appeal from the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer who proposes to hold an oral hearing in this case. There has been a very significant increase in the number of appeals received by the Social Welfare Appeals Office since 2007 when the intake was 14,070 to 2010 when the intake rose to 32,432. This has significantly impacted on the processing time for appeals which require oral hearings and, in order to be fair to all appellants, they are dealt with in strict chronological order. In the context of dealing with the considerable number of appeals now on hand, the Department made 9 additional appointments to the office earlier this year. While every effort is being made to deal with the large numbers awaiting oral hearing as quickly as possible, it is not possible to give a date when the person’s oral hearing will be heard, but s/he will be informed when arrangements have been made. 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.

  266.  Deputy Barry Cowen  Information on Barry Cowen  Zoom on Barry Cowen   asked the Minister for Social Protection  Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton   when a person (details supplied) in County Offaly may expect a decision on an application for disability allowance. [24812/11]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I confirm that the Department is in receipt of a claim for disability allowance from the person concerned. In order to determine his weekly means, his claim was forwarded to a Social Welfare Investigator for a means assessment. I understand the investigator will visit the person shortly to carry out an assessment of [1028]his means. A decision on his entitlement to disability allowance will be given on receipt of the social welfare investigator’s report and the person will be notified directly of the outcome.


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