Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Questions (147)

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

146 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Social Protection if an oral hearing has been held by the social welfare appeals office in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35473/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that the appeal from the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer who proposes to hold an oral hearing in this case.

From about early 2009 the number of appeals received by that Office has increased dramatically and by 2011 had more than doubled from an average of 15,000 pa to 32,000. A further 18,826 have been received for the first half on this year. The pressure placed on the office by this rapid increase in workload has resulted in unacceptable delays for our customers.

While every effort is being made to deal with the large numbers awaiting oral hearing as quickly as possible, it is not possible to give a date when the person's oral hearing will be heard, but she will be informed when arrangements have been made.

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.