Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (28)

Sean Fleming

Question:

30 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection the current waiting lists for welfare claims in her Department; the measures she has taken to address this issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34978/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The Department is committed to ensuring that claims are processed as expeditiously as possible. Processing times vary across schemes, depending on the differing qualification criteria. As can be seen from the data in the table below, schemes that require a high level of documentary evidence from the customer, particularly in the case of illness-related schemes, can take longer to process. Similarly, means-tested payments can also require more detailed investigation and interaction with the applicant, thereby lengthening the decision making process.

As part of the Department's programme of service delivery modernisation, a range of initiatives aimed at streamlining the processing of claims, supported by modern technology, have been implemented in recent years. Operational processes, procedures and the organisation of work are continually reviewed to ensure that processing capability is maximised.

In addition, the staffing needs of the Department are regularly reviewed, having regard to workloads and the competing demands arising, to ensure that the best use is made of all available resources. The Department will continue to source available staff to fill critical vacancies by way of redeployment, or transfer from within the Department and other Government Departments, taking account of the employment control framework (ECF) target, as determined by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

I wish to assure the Deputy that prompt processing of claims remains a priority for me.

Table: Claim processing performance, April and May 2012

Scheme

April 2012 Average weeks to Award

May 2012 Average weeks to Award

State Pension (contributory)

6

4

State Pension (transitional)

5

6

State pension (non-contributory)

11

12

Widow(er)’s Pension (contributory)

2

2

Widow(er)’s Pension (non-contributory) pension and one parent family payment (widow)

11

9

One Parent Family

17

17

Household Benefits

1

1

Bereavement Grant

1

1

Invalidity Pension

31

38

Family Income Supplement — New Claims

17

17

Disability Allowance

17*

16*

Carer’s Benefit

11

11

Carer’s Allowance

28

28

Jobseeker’s Benefit

2

2

Jobseeker’s Allowance

5

5

Illness Benefit

1

1

Maternity Benefit

2

2

Child Benefit- Domestic

3

3

Domiciliary Care Allowance

6

7

Back to Education Allowance

Applicants for BTEA are already in receipt of another social welfare payment before a decision is made on their entitlement to the Allowance.

*Estimated.