I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that legislation provides that where an Appeals Officer is of the opinion that an appeal can be properly determined without an oral hearing, he or she may determine the appeal summarily on the basis of the documentary evidence provided. A request for an oral hearing will be considered by an Appeals Officer in the light of the documentary evidence before them. Generally, a request for an oral hearing will be granted unless the Appeals Officer considers that a positive decision can be given without recourse to an oral hearing. However, in some cases, where there is clearly nothing to be gained from an oral hearing, for example when a decision relates to a question of social insurance contributions or means, the Appeals Officer may decide the appeal on a summary basis.
Of the 4,665 invalidity pension appeals decided by appeals officers in 2013, 3842 (82.36%) were decided by summary decision. Of these 2,744 (71.42%) had a successful outcome for the appellant. 823 (17.64%) invalidity pension appeals were decided following an oral hearing. Of these 610 (74.12%) had a successful outcome for the appellant while 213 (25.88%) were disallowed.