Written Answers - Social Welfare Appeals

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 740 No. 3

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  285.  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 a domiciliary allowance. [24843/11]

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 she 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.

Question No. 286 withdrawn.

  287.  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 will receive a decision on their application for one parent family payment. [24847/11]

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 25 May 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 05 July 2011 and the appeal will be assigned, in due course, to an Appeals Officer 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 the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

  288.  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 will receive a decision on their application for jobseeker’s allowance. [24848/11]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer having fully considered all the available evidence disallowed the appeal of the person concerned by way of summary decision. Under Social Welfare legislation, the decision of the Appeals Officer is final and conclusive and may only be reviewed by the Appeals Officer in the light of new evidence or new facts.

Following the submission of additional evidence the Appeals Officer has set aside his original decision and has re-opened the appeal by way of oral hearing. The person concerned will be informed when arrangements have been made. The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions [1033]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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