Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Questions (309)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

309. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will indicate the total number of applications for invalidity pension currently on hand; the likely timescale within which it is expected that a decision will be made; the degree, if any, to which she can speed up the processing of such cases; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11634/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

As at the end of February 2013 there are 2,593 Invalidity Pension (IP) claims registered, actioned and awaiting information to finalise a decision. This includes approximately 800 cases which are being investigated under EU regulations or bi-lateral agreements. These cases are more complex and take longer to decide. A targeted plan was put in place to clear the backlog, which is steadily decreasing - from 7,007 at end May 2012 to 4,561 at end of October 2012 and to 2,593 at the end of February 2013. Approximately 220 new invalidity pension claims are received in the Department each week. These are examined on receipt and a decision is completed where all information is available. If a medical assessment and/or further information is required, it is requested without delay. Once all the necessary information is received, the claim is processed. Where a claim is disallowed and the customer requests a review of the decision or appeals the decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office, this requires an additional amount of time to finalise.