Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (400)

John McGuinness

Question:

400. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Social Protection if appeals for social welfare payment under the occupational disablement benefit scheme and the invalidity pension scheme will be expedited in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny. [22523/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The application for invalidity pension, by the person concerned, was disallowed by a Deciding Officer following an assessment by a Medical Assessor of the Department who expressed the opinion that he was not permanently incapable of work. The case was reviewed by a second Medical Assessor who also expressed the opinion that he was not medically suitable for invalidity pension.

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an invalidity pension appeal was opened and in accordance with statutory requirements that Office contacted the person concerned asking him to set out the complete and up to date grounds of his appeal. For this purpose, a form SWAO1 was issued on 17th June 2013. The person concerned failed to respond and, consequently, his appeal could not be progressed and was deemed to be withdrawn on 5th September 2013.

With regard to the disablement benefit claim of the person concerned I am also advised by the Appeals Office that an appeal was registered on 10th April 2014. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. When these have been received from the Department, the case in question will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral appeal hearing.

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 in relation to social welfare entitlements.