Deciding Officers are appointed by the Minister under Section 299 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005. Section 300 of that Act allows a Deciding Officer to determine if a person qualifies for a social welfare scheme, and where the person qualifies, the weekly rate of entitlement to be awarded.
Deciding Officers apply fair and equitable assessment in all claims they process. They make their decisions in an unbiased manner based on the eligibility conditions of the scheme, relevant legislation, the facts available to them and in accordance with the principles of natural justice.
In the case of the state pension non-contributory claimant concerned, the key steps and standard procedures as set out in Decisions Advisory Office Guidelines have been followed by the Deciding Officer in their review of the person’s entitlement.
Some cases can be more complex and, as a result, take longer to complete. In the case of the person concerned, the Deciding Officer is undertaking a retrospective means review over a number of years. In such cases, additional documentary evidence may be sought, to ensure that the correct rate of payment is awarded throughout the period in question.
Where a claimant is dissatisfied with a decision, details of their right of appeal of the decision to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office, and how to do this, are set out in decision communications.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.