Written Answers - Carer’s Allowance

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 770 No. 1

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  267.  Deputy Pearse Doherty  Information on Pearse Doherty  Zoom on Pearse Doherty   asked the Minister for Social Protection  Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton   the current waiting times for carer’s allowance claims to be processed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30361/12]

  268.  Deputy Pearse Doherty  Information on Pearse Doherty  Zoom on Pearse Doherty   asked the Minister for Social Protection  Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton   if her attention has been drawn to the fact that some claimants are waiting up to 10 months for claims in respect of carer’s allowance to be processed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30362/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I propose to take Questions Nos. 267 and 268 together.

Currently the average time taken to award a carer’s allowance application is 28 weeks. There are currently approximately 8,640 new carer’s allowance applications registered and awaiting a decision. Of these, there are 9 cases that have been awaiting a decision for more than 40 weeks. Certain cases take longer to decide for various reasons such as information required from a customer in order to decide a claim being unavailable or significantly delayed or where a complex case must be investigated by a social welfare inspector.

I acknowledge that the time taken to process carer’s allowance claims at present is not satisfactory but I am satisfied that the Department is taking action to resolve the situation.

A major service delivery modernisation project is underway to improve the efficiency of administration of the carer’s allowance scheme. This involves the deployment of information technology solutions and associated business process re-organisation. It is anticipated that the [177]new system will introduce significant processing efficiencies and a quicker and more responsive service to the customers.

Full deployment of the new system for carer’s allowance has completed this month. In tandem with the full implementation of the new system, a comprehensive business process improvement exercise is commencing on the 2nd July, the focus of which is to optimise performance and provide improved customer service. However it is expected to be a number of months before the backlog is reduced to an acceptable level.

  269.  Deputy Pearse Doherty  Information on Pearse Doherty  Zoom on Pearse Doherty   asked the Minister for Social Protection in view of  Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton   the fact that the average waiting time for carer’s allowance, as published by her Department, was 17 weeks in respect of the last quarter of 2011, the reason these times have increased in the past six months in spite of the modernisation process due to be completed by her Department by the end of June; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30363/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Department is committed to delivering the best possible service to its customers. Currently the average time taken to award a carer’s allowance application is 28 weeks. There are approximately 8,650 new carer’s allowance applications registered and awaiting a decision.

I acknowledge that the time taken to process carer’s allowance claims at present is not satisfactory but I am satisfied that the Department is taking action to resolve the situation.

A major service delivery modernisation project is underway to improve the efficiency of administration of the carer’s allowance scheme. This involves the deployment of information technology solutions and associated business process re-organisation. It is anticipated that the new system will introduce significant processing efficiencies and a quicker and more responsive service to the customers. Significant internal resources have been invested in the development and rollout of the new computer system over the past 18 months or so. However full deployment of the new system for carer’s allowance has completed this month. In tandem with the full implementation of the new system, a comprehensive business process improvement exercise is commencing on the 2nd July, the focus of which is to optimise performance and provide improved customer service. However it is expected to be a number of months before the backlog is reduced to an acceptable level.


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