Thursday, 13 June 2019

Questions (199)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

199. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason for the delay in the medical review in social welfare cases such as carer’s allowance, domiciliary care allowance, invalidity pension and disability in which it is taking up to 26 weeks for the review to take place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24697/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

My Department is committed to ensuring that claims are processed as expeditiously as possible and to providing a quality service to all claimants. 

 My Department continues to engage with general practitioners and others to clarify the medical requirements of our schemes so that adequate information may be provided with the initial claim.  This increases the likelihood of an eligible initial decision and therefore reduces the need for further evidence to be submitted for review at a later stage.

Processing times can vary across schemes depending on the differing qualification criteria. The disability and illness related schemes require a high level of medical evidence which has to be initially gathered and sourced by the claimant and then when received must be assessed by the Medical Assessors.  This, together with other qualifying criteria such as means testing, can affect the processing times of claims.  Where there is significant medical evidence to be considered this can lengthen the processing times.

My Department has 32 Medical Assessors (MAs) including the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and the Deputy Chief Medical Advisor (DCMA).  Current Medical Assessor resources are focused on ensuring that claims for the various disability and illness schemes are prioritised above other work.