Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (1050)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

1050. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of applications awaiting assessment by the medical review and assessment section, in tabular form; the payments to which the applications refer; the length of time in months such persons are waiting; the counties from which the applications come; the length of time allocated for a medical review or assessment; if she is satisfied that there is an adequate number of medical assessors to undertake the assessments on hand; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44618/19]

View answer

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.

Please see the following table containing sought information.

Scheme

Numbers of applications Awaiting Desk Assessment as of 04/11/19

Current Wait Time (in weeks) on Medical opinions as of 04/11/19.

Carers Allowance

332

1.5

Carers Benefit

183

2.2

Disability Allowance

2,056

4.0

Domiciliary Care Allowance

339

2

Companion Free Travel

149

0.8

Partial Capacity Benefit

35

2

Invalidity Pension

413

6.4

Respite Care Grant

118

4

Standalone Respite Care Grant

7

1.6

Profiles by county, please refer to Appendix 1.

The length of time taken for each schemes for desk assessments varies depending on the complexities of the case and the volume of documents submitted, Domiciliary Care Allowance is such example. Therefore it is not feasible to allocate a fixed time for each case as they are unique in their own way even with clients of similar diagnosis. The Medical Assessor will take the time as required to read, analyse and evaluate each case in the assessment and arrives at the clinical opinion for capacity for work or the need for full time care. Furthermore, the Medical Assessor will take the time to prepare the narrative for the reasoning in the event of a not eligible opinion.

The Medical Review and Assessment Section (MRAS) in conjunction with individual scheme business sections, co-ordinates and manages all referrals for assessment to the Medical Assessors.

The Department offers a number of schemes on illness, disability, carers and occupational injury and applications vary in volume and frequency both yearly and seasonally.

High volume and resource intensive schemes like Domiciliary Care Allowance and Disability Allowance would have a higher proportion of Medical Assessors delegated to these schemes. Medical Assessors are assigned to specific schemes on a daily basis.

A dedicated fast-track system is in place between the office of the Chief Medical Advisor/Deputy Chief Medical Advisor and all scheme business areas, to facilitate referral of claimants with serious and poor prognosis medical conditions, for expediting assessment and processing of claims.

The Department endeavours to maintain adequate Medical Assessor capacity in staffing, and following a successful process in 2018 an additional 5 Medical Assessors were recruited. All vacancies are now currently filled.

I hope this satisfactorily clarifies the concerns raised by the Deputy.

Appendix 1

Profile of Numbers of Medical Claim Application Cases Awaiting Assessment on 30/09/19 broken down by Scheme and by County.

County

Carers

Allowance

Carers

Benefit

Disability

Allowance

Disablement

Benefit

Domiciliary

Care Allowance

Free Travel

Partial

Capacity

Benefit

Invalidity

Pension

Respite

Care Grant

Stand Alone

Respite CareGrant

Carlow

4

1

49

4

2

1

9

1

Cavan

5

1

45

2

4

5

2

12

3

3

Clare

4

3

50

5

5

3

13

7

1

Cork

19

10

284

1

42

28

12

95

18

1

Donegal

13

2

90

9

3

7

19

3

Dublin

43

18

534

4

82

48

43

138

28

4

Galway

9

8

126

4

19

8

5

33

7

2

Kerry

8

3

101

1

10

6

2

18

5

1

Kildare

6

7

93

1

12

3

9

24

2

1

Kilkenny

4

3

42

1

7

2

5

9

2

Laois

3

1

49

1

6

9

4

14

2

Leitrim

1

17

1

4

3

4

3

Limerick

5

5

105

19

11

8

39

2

1

Longford

2

2

23

3

2

3

7

1

Louth

7

4

60

8

7

6

31

5

1

Mayo

4

4

63

1

11

3

6

11

4

2

Meath

10

3

79

1

15

5

5

26

7

1

Monaghan

4

31

1

7

1

12

1

Offaly

1

2

66

5

8

6

11

5

2

Roscommon

6

2

41

9

3

2

12

3

Sligo

3

2

27

7

1

4

9

7

Tipperary

10

5

98

12

8

5

43

5

1

Waterford

8

2

65

8

7

6

13

4

Westmeath

3

7

65

5

7

2

22

5

Wexford

7

5

104

10

4

5

22

7

1

Wicklow

7

1

52

13

5

7

24

5