Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Questions (470)

Catherine Murphy


470. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the delays in the issuance of carer's benefit following a first application, in terms of days and weeks; the number of applicants awaiting the processing of a claim for carer's benefit; the number of days and weeks from application to award; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40611/18]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

My Department is committed to providing a quality service to all its customers. This includes ensuring that applications are processed and that decisions on entitlement are made as quickly as possible.

Carer's benefit (CARB) is a payment made to insured people who leave the workforce to care for a child or an adult in need of full-time care and attention. An increased payment can be made where full-time care is being provided to two people.

At the end of August 2018, the average waiting time for new CARB applications was 11 weeks with 1,039 CARB applications awaiting decision.

Before a decision can be made on entitlement to CARB, a person has to show that they have the required level of PRSI contributions, that they have left full-time employment, that they are providing full-time care and attention and that the person being cared for has such a disability that they require full-time care and attention.

In general, social welfare schemes with a number of complex qualifying conditions can take longer to process. This is compounded if the documentary evidence provided at initial application stage is incomplete or insufficient; this is sometimes the case with CARB applications.

The Department is currently in the process of re-designing the CARB application form. This will allow carers to provide more information on the type and level of care they provide, with an aim to providing Deciding Officers with the information they need to expedite decisions on entitlement.

Staff have recently been re-assigned within the CARB area to work on claims processing and this should lead to a reduction in processing times.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.