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Social Welfare Appeals

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 24 November 2021

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Questions (121)

Seán Canney


121. Deputy Seán Canney asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of appeals received to the Social Welfare Appeals Office in each of the years 2016 to 2020; the percentage of those which were successful in each year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57723/21]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

In any year about 85% of all claims are awarded by the Department and just 1% are appealed. Nevertheless, the Department continues to work to ensure that these cases are dealt with as quickly as possible.

Appeals which had a favourable outcome for the person concerned consist of appeals which were either allowed in full or in part by an Appeals Officer, or which were resolved by way of a revised decision in favour of the person concerned by a Deciding Officer / Designated Person.

There are a number of reasons why a decision which was refused at first instance might be successful on appeal and it is not necessarily the case that the first decision was incorrect. It is often the case that new evidence is provided with an appeal and that, as a result, the original decision may be revised by the Deciding Officer or Designated Person. This was the case in 37.1% of such successful outcomes in 2016, 37.6 % of such outcomes in 2017, 31.5% of such outcomes in 2018, 36.5 % of such outcomes in 2019 and 36.5% of such outcomes in 2020.

Where the decision was not revised by the Department in light of the appeal contentions, further evidence is often provided by the person concerned as the appeal process proceeds and in addition, the Appeals Officer may, on some occasions, gain insights if they hold an oral hearing which may influence the outcome of the appeal.

Finally, where a claimant has been refused a social welfare payment, regardless of the scheme involved, and is appealing that decision, if their means are insufficient to meet their needs it is open to them to apply for supplementary welfare allowance in the interim. If their application for supplementary welfare allowance is refused, they can also appeal that decision. The supplementary welfare allowance appeal will be prioritised for attention within the Appeals Office as soon as the appeal file and submission is received from my Department. I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

The table below shows the number of appeals received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office in each of the years 2016 to 2020, the numbers finalised in those years and the outcomes of those appeals by percentage in each category.

Appeals Registered & Finalised 2016 to 2020



Allowed by AO

Part allowed by AO

Revised decision by DO

Disallowed by AO





7,871 (33.8%)

783 (3.4%)

5,100 (22.0%)

8,336 (35.9%)

1,130 (4.9%)




6,493 (34.2%)

629 (3.3%)

4,283 (22.6%)

6,434 (33.9%)

1,141 (6.0%)




6,802 (36.8%)

662 (3.6%)

3,425 (18.5%)

6,681 (36.0%)

937 (5.1%)




7,543 (33.4%)

595 (2.6%)

4,669 (20.7%)

8,456 (37.5%)

1,309 (5.8%)




8,418 (31.4%)

617 (2.3%)

5,204 (19.4%)

11,485 (42.9%)

1,066 (4.0%)