Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (340)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

348 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons within the appeals process with regards disability allowance applications and all other social protection allowances; the average wait time for these appeals; the longest wait times; and if the practice of giving updates on decisions of the appeals to Deputies has changed. [35162/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The number of appeals on hands for all scheme types at the end of June 2012 is listed in Table 1. At the end of June 2012 there were 4,122 appeals of Disability Allowance pending.

The current processing times for all scheme types are listed in Table 2. Generally the vast majority of cases fall within average times but extenuating factors, often outside of the control of the Social Welfare Appeals Office, will cause greater delays in some cases.

In light of this, the attached table showing the current processing times (based on figures at the end of June 2012) shows the overall average for each scheme along with the average when the older appeals are excluded.

These processing times are calculated from the registration date of the appeal to the date of its finalisation. They 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.

In an effort to reduce the processing times for all appeals, the Department has appointed 13 additional Appeals Officers since 2010. 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, bringing the total number of Appeals Officers now serving in the Office to 40. In addition to this the Office has improved its business processes and IT support.

There has been no change in the practice of giving updates on decisions of appeals to TDs. TDs can request updates on progress of appeals by calling a dedicated phone line or by sending in a request for update to TDREPS.Appeals@welfare.ie.

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.

Table 1: Appeals on hand at 1 July 2012

Scheme

Number on hand at 1 July 2012

Adoptive Benefit

4

Bereavement Grant

52

Blind Pension

22

Carers Allowance

1,606

Carers Benefit

78

Child Benefit

615

Disability Allowance

4,122

Domiciliary Care

1,498

Deserted Wives Benefit

11

Deserted Wives Allowance

3

Farm Assist

174

Family Income Supplement

125

Homemakers

1

Illness Benefit

2,366

Invalidity Pension

2,989

Liable Relatives

58

Lone Parent

1

One Parent Family Payment

715

Maternity Benefit

15

State Pension (Contributory)

91

State Pension (Non-Cont)

181

State Pension (Transition)

22

Occupational Injury Benefit

13

Occupational Injury Benefit (Medical)

23

Disablement Pension — OIBDIS

342

Incapacity Supplement

20

Guardian’s Payment (Con)

27

Guardian’s Payment (Non-con)

15

Pre-Retirement Allowance

1

Jobseeker’s Allowance (Means)

2,434

Jobseeker’s Allowance

2,000

Jobseeker’s Benefit

853

JA/JB Fraud Control

3

Respite Care Grant

138

Insurability of Employment

127

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

2,655

Treatment Benefits

1

Survivor’s Pension (Con)

27

Survivor’s Pension (Non-con)

24

Widows Parent Grant

2

Total

23,454

Table 2: Appeals processing times by scheme 1/1/2012-30/6/2012 — Summary and Oral

Average processing times (weeks) Summary Decisions

Average processing times (weeks) Summary Decisions (Excluding appeals registered before 1.1.2011)

Average processing times (weeks) Oral Hearings

Average processing times (weeks) Oral Hearing (Excluding appeals registered before 1.1.2011)

Adoptive Benefit

15.6

15.6

40.4

40.4

Blind Pension

22.2

22.2

30.4

30.4

Carers Allowance

32.1

30.7

45.3

38.7

Carers Benefit

32.7

24.4

35.4

34.0

Child Benefit

53.1

37.5

58.5

42.8

Disability Allowance

31.3

29.4

40.8

36.1

Illness Benefit

38.4

36.5

51.1

43.7

Domiciliary Care

28.6

28.2

41.8

37.2

Deserted Wives Benefit

19.8

14.6

47.2

Deserted Wives Allowance

14.6

19.8

47.2

Farm Assist

20.3

17.3

44.9

35.6

Bereavement Grant

29.7

25.5

Family Income Supplement

18.8

18.7

30.2

27.4

Invalidity Pension

36.6

33.5

57.6

37.8

Liable Relatives

72.8

30.4

One Parent Family Payment

25.6

23.2

46.3

38.5

Maternity Benefit

32.3

29.4

40.0

40.0

State Pension (Contributory)

30.8

21.8

58.6

35.2

State Pension (Non-Cont)

28.0

27.2

51.3

40.4

State Pension (Transition)

20.0

20.0

61.8

61.3

Occupational Injury Benefit

0.3

0.3

56.0

44.6

Occupational Injury Benefit (Medical)

78.7

87.4

Disablement Pension

46.1

39.3

51.4

37.0

Incapacity Supplement

7.7

7.7

52.1

36.8

Guardian’s Payment (Con)

24.5

24.5

56.3

37.3

Guardian’s Payment (Non-con)

27.1

27.1

82.9

41.7

Pre-Retirement Allowance

54.6

54.6

Jobseeker’s Allowance (Means)

20.1

18.2

40.5

34.0

Jobseeker’s Allowance

24.6

19.4

35.9

29.8

Jobseeker’s Benefit

16.7

15.3

29.3

28.0

JA/JB Fraud Control

Respite Care Grant

25.8

25.8

38.7

36.1

Insurability of Employment

52.0

41.7

81.8

48.8

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

14.7

14.6

19.1

19.0

Treatment Benefits

18.9

18.9

Survivor’s Pension (Con)

75.0

55.5

Survivor’s Pension (Non-con)

28.6

28.6

44.6

34.2

Widows Parent Grant

23.2

23.2

All Appeals

26.0

22.0

40.4

38.0