Written Answers. - Social Welfare Appeals.

Denis Naughten

Question:

761 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the reason for the delay in making a decision on the appeal of a person (details supplied) in County Roscommon for carer's allowance in view of the fact that the appeal was lodged in May 2000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19980/00]

The person's application for carer's allowance was disallowed by a deciding officer on the grounds that the relevant persons were not regarded as being in need of full-time care and attention and also that she did not satisfy the statutory condition of providing such care and attention.

Her appeal against that decision in February 2000 to the social welfare appeals office was considered by an appeals officer who, on the basis of the documentary evidence, disallowed the appeal. The person was notified of this decision on 14 March 2000.

Following representations from the Deputy and the submission of new medical evidence, the appeals officer decided to reopen the appeal by way of an oral hearing. The person concerned was duly notified on 6 June. She has since submitted further medical evidence dated June and July. To assist her in presenting her appeal at the oral hearing she also sought, and was sent, a statement outlining the reasons for the initial determination by the appeals officer. The oral hearing will now be arranged as soon as possible.

Under social welfare legislation decisions in relation to claims must be made by deciding officers and appeals officers. These officers are statutorily appointed and I have no role in regard to making such decisions.
While the appeals office is under considerable pressure due the increase in the number of appeals received, every effort is made to ensure that appeals are dealt with as quickly as possible, bearing in mind the need to complete the necessary procedures to ensure that every case receives full and fair consideration. In these circumstances of this particular case the delay has not been inordinate.