Written Answers - Social Welfare Appeals

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 759 No. 1

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  269.  Deputy Michelle Mulherin  Information on Michelle Mulherin  Zoom on Michelle Mulherin   asked the Minister for Social Protection  Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton   the position regarding an appeal against the refusal to grant carer’s allowance in respect of a person (details [212]supplied) in County Mayo; if she will expedite the processing of the appeal as the applicant is experiencing financial hardship with no income; and if she will confirm the reason they were refused carer’s allowance. [13827/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The person in question was refused carer’s allowance on the grounds that the care recipient is not so disabled as to require full-time care and attention as prescribed in regulations. He was notified of this decision and the reason for it.

He appealed this decision and forwarded additional medical evidence in support of his appeal. This information has been forwarded to the medical assessor for further consideration.

The outcome of the review is due shortly.

Question No. 270 withdrawn.

  271.  Deputy John McGuinness  Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness   asked the Minister for Social Protection  Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton   if she will expedite an appeal for one-parent family payment and child benefit in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny. [13874/12]

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 23rd September 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 6th December 2011 and the appeal will, in due course, be assigned to an Appeals Officer for consideration.

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 and in order to be fair to all appellants, the appeals are dealt with in strict chronological order.

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.

  272.  Deputy John McGuinness  Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness   asked the Minister for Social Protection  Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton   if an appeal for invalidity pension will be expedited in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow. [13877/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Further to my response to Parliamentary Question Ref. No. 4948/12, I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that there is no update to the information given previously.

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.

  273.  Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh  Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh   asked the Minister for Social Protection  Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton   the average waiting time for carer’s allowance appeals. [13882/12]

  274.  Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh  Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh   asked the Minister for Social Protection  Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton   the average waiting time for domiciliary care allowance appeals. [13883/12]

[213]

  287.  Deputy Michael Healy-Rae  Information on Michael Healy-Rae  Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae   asked the Minister for Social Protection  Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton   the reason there is a 12 to 14-month wait when dealing with appeals for domiciliary care allowance. [14212/12]

  292.  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   the average length of time taken to process social welfare programme appeals, broken down by scheme in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and to date in 2012. [14227/12]

  304.  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   the total number of appeals currently being processed by her Department, broken down by programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14239/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I propose to take Questions Nos. 273, 274, 287, 292 and 304 together.

Figures in regard to the number of appeals currently being processed by the Social Welfare Appeals Office broken down by scheme, and the average time to process appeals by summary decision and by oral hearing by scheme type for 2007-2011 are given in the tables below. Processing time for 2012 to date are not available.

In an effort to reduce the processing times, the Department appointed 12 additional Appeals Officers during between 2010 and 2011. In addition, a further 10 Appeals Officers, formerly employed by the Community Welfare Services (CWS) of the Health Services Executive, joined the Office as part of the integration of the CWS appeals services into the Social Welfare Appeals Office. This brought the total number of Appeals Officers to 39.

The processing times below are calculated from the registration date of the appeal to the date of its finalisation and include all activities during this period including time spent in the Department for comments by the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal put forward by the appellant and any further investigation, examination or assessment by the Department’s Inspectors and Medical Assessors that is deemed necessary. A considerable period of time is added to the process when an oral hearing is required because of the logistics involved in this process.

I am assured by the Chief Appeals Officer that she is keeping the methods of operation by which the Social Welfare Appeals Office conducts its business under constant review, and that the processes are continuously being enhanced to reduce the backlogs in the Office and, overall, to reduce the processing times for dealing with appeals.

Average time take to process appeals by scheme in 2011
Appeals Pending at 1/3/2012 By summary decision Following oral hearing
Adoptive Benefit 4 27.9
Blind Pension 14 20.4 69.8
Carers Allowance 1,331 31.3 57.9
Carers Benefit 62 21.8 59.4
Child Benefit 585 47.6 66.0
Disability Allowance 3,308 27.4 55.6
Illness Benefit 2,220 38.2 59.8
Domiciliary Care 1,649 25.4 55.8
Deserted Wives Allowance 3
Deserted Wives Benefit 11 19.2 46.0
Farm Assist 141 20.9 57.9
Bereavement Grant 37 22.1
Family Income Supplement 106 19.9 31.8
Invalidity Pension 2,150 36.4 58.9
Liable Relatives 42 31.6 84.1
One Parent Family Payment 625 24.3 57.5
Maternity Benefit 15 25.1 62.1
State Pension (Contributory) 95 24.9 55.3
State Pension (Non-Cont) 150 20.6 54.6
State Pension (Transition) 18 24.4 66.0
Occupational Injury Benefit 10 30.7 54.8
Occupational Injury Ben (Med) 23 77.8 65.0
Disablement Pension 300 48.5 59.7
Incapacity Supplement 14 48.3
Guardian’s Payment (Con) 26 36.2 62.7
Guardian’s Payment (Non-Con) 14 23.9 59.0
Pre-Retirement Allowance 1
Jobseeker’s Allow (Means) 2,039 18.0 54.8
Jobseeker’s Allowance 1,656 23.8 47.9
Jobseeker’s Benefit 691 15.1 34.0
JA/JB Fraud Control 3 13.7 24.9
Respite Care Grant 193 23.4 60.8
Insurability of Employment 148 34.0 72.1
Supplementary Welfare All 1,928 6.3 17.6
Treatment Benefits 3 28.8
Survivor’s Pension (Con) 16 27.5 55.3
Survivor’s Pension (Non-Con) 19 18.1 53.1
Widows Parent Grant 7 22.0
All Appeals 19,657 25.1 52.5

Average time take to process appeals by scheme in 2009 Average time take to process appeals
by scheme in 2010
By summary decision Following oral hearing By summary decision Following oral hearing
Adoptive Benefit 32.6
Blind Pension 19.7 42.6 19.8 39.4
Carers Allowance 27.4 38.5 26.9 47.3
Carers Benefit 16.6 36.0 21.6 44.2
Child Benefit 40.2 47.3 48.4 63.1
Disability Allowance 22.1 38.4 30.8 51.1
Illness Benefit 26.4 40.4 39.2 56.4
Domiciliary Care 17.0 21.9 26.8 49.1
Deserted Wives Allowance 35.9
Deserted Wives Benefit 34.3 33.9 29.0
Farm Assist 14.4 41.5 23.2 50.7
Bereavement Grant 17.6 25.1
Family Income Supplement 14.7 28.1 21.4 29.0
Homemakers 15.3
Invalidity Pension 32.4 40.0 40.9 59.7
Liable Relatives 24.6 37.5 35.9
One Parent Family Payment 19.7 38.5 30.2 49.4
Maternity Benefit 20.8 37.7
State Pension (Contributory) 28.5 36.7 29.6 49.2
State Pension (Non-Cont) 16.9 40.7 26.5 49.9
State Pension (Transition) 22.9 25.3 30.7
Occupational Injury Benefit 16.1 64.7 55.7 53.8
Occupational Injury Ben (Med) 36.9 38.8 32.5 67.9
Disablement Pension 30.1 36.3 27.4 51.9
Death Benefit (Pension) 45.3 69.6
Incapacity Supplement 37.0 30.7
Guardian’s Payment (Con) 13.3 36.0 25.3 48.3
Guardian’s Payment (Non-Con) 12.7 29.0 24.3 42.2
Pre-Retirement Allowance 9.0 35.2
Jobseeker’s Allow (Means) 15.9 35.8 22.2 46.9
Jobseeker’s Allowance 13.3 30.4 23.6 43.0
Jobseeker’s Benefit 14.5 25.9 22.6 36.0
JA/JB Fraud Control 46.2 59.9
Respite Care Grant 19.5 37.9 30.5 49.1
Insurability of Employment 27.0 56.9 31.3 67.4
Supplementary Welfare All 6.5 10.8 6.9 14.8
Treatment Benefits 16.5 21.9 57.8
Survivor’s Pension (Con) 19.6 43.3 35.2 53.6
Survivor’s Pension (Non-Con) 12.5 37.9 31.9 54.6
Widows Parent Grant 20.9
All Appeals 18.2 34.8 27.4 45.6

Average time take to process appeals by scheme in 2007 Average time take to process appeals
by scheme in 2008
By summary decision Following oral hearing By summary decision Following oral hearing
Adoptive Benefit 8.9 12.4
Blind Pension 11.7 28.6 12.2 30.3
Carers Allowance 22.5 37.3 22.3 37.0
Carers Benefit 12.7 36.1 12.4 34.3
Child Benefit 14.5 40.5 21.9 44.0
Disability Allowance 17.8 36.4 18.5 37.9
Illness Benefit 23.3 35.8 22.8 37.3
Deserted Wives Allowance 99.5 34.3 25.4 30.9
Deserted Wives Benefit 13.0 35.6 31.1 41.6
Farm Assist 12.8 34.1 15.2 37.6
Bereavement Grant 13.7 15.5
Family Income Supplement 18.6 30.2 18.1 29.6
Invalidity Pension 27.3 38.5 22.7 38.00
Liable Relatives 8.7 18.5 34.6
One Parent Family Payment 36.3 44.3 16.8 39.9
Maternity Benefit 20.1 38.3 12.4 26.3
State Pension (Contributory) 58.3 71.1 21.9 42.2
State Pension (Non-Cont) 14.7 37.2 15.4 42.9
State Pension (Transition) 29.3 32.0 58.8
Occupational Injury Benefit 21.8 38.2 20.8 48.7
Occupational Injury Ben (Med) 33.7 47.9 27.9 41.7
Disablement Pension 22.4 35.4 26.3 38.7
Incapacity Supplement 17.9 39.6 42.6
Guardian’s Payment (Con) 35.5 17.1 32.4
Guardian’s Payment (Non-Con) 43.5 15.4
Pre-Retirement Allowance 11.3 60.7 18.2 58.9
Jobseeker’s Allow (Means) 10.4 34.7 12.3 35.3
Jobseeker’s Allowance 7.4 18.6 9.1 24.2
Jobseeker’s Benefit 7.8 17.2 10.0 20.6
JA/JB Fraud Control 10.0 43.9 9.8 47..4
Rent Allowance 6.1
Respite Care Grant 12.2 31.3 15.3 35.2
Insurability of Employment 8.0 47.5 44.5 72.8
Supplementary Welfare All 3.3 10.0 3.9 10.7
Treatment Benefits 24.5 15.1
Survivor’s Pension (Con) 22.5 39.7 9.1 35.6
Survivor’s Pension (Non-Con) 16.1 37.0 10.2 39.7
All Appeals 14.2 18.5 13.9 32.9


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