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Social Welfare Benefits

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 18 May 2021

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Questions (567)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

567. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the extent to which the processing of applications for various social welfare payments is in line with the most expeditious practice; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26548/21]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

My Department is committed to providing a quality service to all customers, ensuring that claims are processed as expeditiously as possible and that backlogs of claims are kept to a minimum. All schemes operate to published processing times which are subject to ongoing monitoring and review. Processing times vary across schemes, depending on the differing qualification criteria. Schemes that require a high level of documentary evidence from the customer, particularly in the case of illness-related schemes, can take longer to process. Similarly, means-tested payments can also require more detailed investigations and interaction with the customer, thereby lengthening the decision- making process.

Recent data across a number of schemes is outlined in the following table:

Scheme

Target

Reference   period

April  performance

State Pension Contributory

90%

Date of entitlement

90%

Jobseekers Allowance

90%

Within 6 weeks

97%

Carer's allowance

75%

Within 11 weeks

97%

Disability Allowance

75%

Within 10 weeks

95%

Illness Benefit

90%

Within 1 week

81%

Child Benefit

90%

Within 4 weeks

75%

Household Benefits

90%

Within 4 weeks

99%

As part of the Department’s programme of service delivery modernisation, a range of initiatives aimed at streamlining the processing of claims, supported by modern technology, have been implemented in recent years. Operational processes, procedures and the organisation of work are continually reviewed to ensure that processing capability is maximised.

In addition, the staffing needs of the Department are regularly reviewed, having regard to workloads and the competing demands arising, to ensure that the best use is made of all available resources.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

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