Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (279)

Simon Harris


279. Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of disability allowance applications waiting to be processed by her Department; the average length of time it takes to process new disability allowance applications and reviews of additional medical evidence; her views on whether this length of time is fair and equitable; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15025/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Processing time for individual disability allowance claims can vary depending on the complexity of the claimant's circumstances and the information they provide. Approximately 430 new applications for disability allowance are received each week and are actioned immediately. At present, the average number of weeks to make a decision on a new disability allowance application is just over 11 weeks.

There are approximately 4,100 new applications for disability allowance awaiting decision – down from over 6,800 cases this time last year and continuing to reduce. Of this 4,100, approximately 1,400 have been actioned and are awaiting further information from the claimant or a report from a social welfare investigator before a decision can be made.

The Department is committed to delivering the best possible service to its customers. Operational processes and procedures and the organisation of work are continually reviewed in all areas of the Department, including disability allowance section, to ensure that claims are processed and decided in the most efficient and expeditious way possible, having regard to the eligibility conditions that apply to each scheme.

There are approximately 540 applications awaiting review of a decision to disallow a new application. Approximately 525 of these have sent in additional medical evidence which is waiting to be assessed by a medical assessor prior to the deciding officer review.

People who have urgent income support needs and are awaiting a decision on their application may apply for a means tested supplementary welfare allowance from their local community welfare service.