Thursday, 13 June 2019

Questions (223)

James Browne


223. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to delays affecting carer’s benefit applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24757/19]

View answer

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.

Currently the average time taken to process a new CARB applications is 12 weeks.

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.

Where any scheme area experiences delays, all possible steps are taken to improve processing times including the assignment of additional resources, where available. A review of business processes is also underway, to ensure efficient processing of applications. It is intended that the current review of business processes will identify opportunities to implement improvements and efficiencies over the coming months.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.