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Social Welfare Appeals

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 2 November 2010

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Ceisteanna (351, 352, 353, 354, 355, 356, 357, 358)

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

392 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of appeals that are currently at hand for all social protection entitlements and a breakdown for each category and the length of time it is taking to process in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40258/10]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

401 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of cases currently on appeal for job seeker’s allowance; the longest period recorded for such appeals to be determined to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40293/10]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

402 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of cases currently on appeal for non-contributory old age pension; the longest period recorded for such appeals to be determined to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40294/10]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

403 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of cases currently on appeal for contributory old age pension; the longest period for such appeals to be determined to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40295/10]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

404 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of cases currently on appeal for child benefit; the longest period recorded for such appeals to be determined to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40296/10]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

405 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of cases currently on appeal for one parent family allowance; the longest period recorded for such appeals to be determined to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40297/10]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

406 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of cases currently on appeal for disability benefit; the longest period recorded for such appeals to be determined to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40298/10]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

407 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the action he proposes to take to eliminate the backlog of appeals for the various social welfare payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40299/10]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Family)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 392 and 401 to 407, inclusive, together.

The table sets out the total number of cases by scheme type on appeal on 30 September 2010; the average time taken to process all appeals during the period and the average time taken to process appeals which required an oral hearing. Figures for the longest recorded times for appeals to be determined for each scheme are not readily available.

There was a 46% increase in the number of appeals received by the Social Welfare Appeals Office in 2009 when compared to 2008, which in itself was 27% greater than the numbers received in 2007. There was an increase of a further 44% in the number of appeals received in the first eight months of 2010. These increases have caused delays in the processing of appeals. In order to be fair to all appellants, oral hearings are arranged in strict chronological order.

A number of initiatives have been put in place to enhance the capacity of the office to deal with the current caseload and inflows. In that regard

Additional Appeals Officers have been assigned to the Office since 2009,

A number of additional staff were assigned to the administration area of the Office,

The organisation of the Appeals Officer's work has been changed so as to increase productivity,

A project to improve the business processes in the office was undertaken which has resulted in a number of improvements being implemented, and

Significant enhancements have been made to the office's IT and phone systems.

In addition, it was decided to use experienced retired staff strictly on a short term basis to supplement the current resources and the services of eight retired officers have now been secured on a part-time basis and have been operating since July.

I am assured by the Chief Appeals Officer that she is keeping current processes under continuous review with a view to achieving a more effective throughput of appeals, while ensuring that any progress does not conflict with due process in terms of the rights of appellants and adherence to the requirements of natural justice. 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 on social welfare entitlements.

Appeals pending decision by scheme type at 30 September 2010; average time taken to process all appeals and those requiring an oral hearing in 2010 (to 30/9/2010)

Appeals Pending At 30/9/2010

Average Time Taken to Process appeals

Average Time Taken to Process Appeals with Oral Hearing (1/1/2010-30/9/2010)

Adoptive Benefit

1

32.6

Blind Pension

10

27.9

39.4

Carers Allowance

2,016

28.8

45.3

Carers Benefit

85

25.0

44.0

Child Benefit

1,216

51.6

62.0

Domiciliary Care Allowance

1,356

27.4

42.6

Disability Allowance

3,312

35.1

49.5

Illness Benefit

2,989

37.2

55.7

Deserted Wives Benefit

4

31.5

29.0

Farm Assist

155

30.4

51.0

Bereavement Grant

27

19.2

Family Income Supplement

82

21.1

30.1

Invalidity Pension

658

39.2

68.7

Liable Relatives

19

23.2

One Parent Family Payment

792

31.4

46.8

Maternity Benefit

15

23.6

State Pension (Contributory)

105

25.7

35.5

State Pension (Non-Contributory)

214

33.2

48.5

State Pension (Transition)

8

23.7

Occupational Injury Benefit

20

39.6

54.8

Occupational Injury Benefit (Medical)

55

24.2

Disablement Pension

312

35.6

50.8

Incapacity Supplement

17

27.0

30.7

Guardian’s Payment (Contributory)

22

34.6

44.2

Guardian’s Payment (Non-Contributory)

10

27.3

42.2

Pre-Retirement Allowance

1

6.6

Jobseeker’s Allowance (Means)

2,390

28.6

45.2

Jobseeker’s Allowance

3,579

27.4

42.0

Jobseeker’s Benefit

711

25.5

37.1

JA/JB Fraud Control

4

Respite Care Grant

110

32.4

47.9

Insurability of Employment

116

41.4

68.9

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

357

21.0

13.8

Treatment Benefits

3

29.4

Survivor’s Pension (Contributory)

11

29.9

49.7

Survivor’s Pension (Non-Contributory)

9

30.8

48.3

Widowed Parent Grant

2

18.3

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