Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Ceisteanna (67, 74, 77)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

67. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the applications for various social welfare payments which are most commonly refused on application, and referred to appeal and/or an oral hearing; the number of cases subsequently rejected or approved, on appeal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25384/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

74. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the number of applications for carer's allowance, ophthalmic benefit, dental benefit, invalidity pension and disability allowance received in the past six months; the number approved, refused, or pending; the way the figures compare with the previous 12-month period; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25391/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

77. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the extent to which backlogs continue to be addressed in respect of various headings and payments operated by her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25394/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 67, 74 and 77 together.

The specific information requested by the Deputy is in tabular form as follows.

Scheme areas continuously monitor and review procedures, practices and communication to ensure that clients are dealt with as quickly as possible.

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 investigation and interaction with the applicant, thereby lengthening the decision making process.

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 continue to be implemented. Operational processes, procedures and the organisation of work are continually reviewed to ensure that processing capability is maximised. One of the biggest factors that delay claim process and results in reviews and appeals is the quality of the information provided by the customer. The Department continues to take every opportunity to inform customers as to the requirements of the application processes by review application forms, use of tits web site and proactively meeting support group and organisation to ensure the message is available.

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.

Table A – most commonly refused applications

2014 Appeal Receipts

Disability Allowance

5,554

Jobseeker's Allowance - Payments

2,610

Jobseeker's Allowance - Means

2,648

Carer’s Allowance

2,907

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

2,889

Invalidity Pension

2,571

2014 Appeal Outcomes

Allowed

Part Allowed

Revised Deciding Officer decisions

Disallowed

Withdrawn

Total

Disability Allowance

3,860

100

671

2,010

90

6,731

Jobseeker's Allowance - Payments

775

129

395

1,450

229

2,978

Jobseeker's Allowance - Means

439

176

454

1,708

295

3,072

Carer’s Allowance

1,240

177

463

1,451

55

3,386

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

852

128

462

1,496

295

3,233

Invalidity Pension

2,133

15

584

747

43

3,522

Table B - the number of claims received, approved, refused and pending for

carer’s allowance, disability allowance, invalidity pension and treatment benefits the periods requested.

Carer's allowance

2014

End May 2015

Received

15,171

7,803

Awarded

12,560

6,459

Refused

8,688

4,188

Pending

4,461

4,767

Disability allowance

2014

End May 2015

Received

21,071

9,192

Awarded

13,876

6,774

Refused

13,732

7,468

Pending

5,631

4,574

Invalidity Pension

2014

End May 2015

Received

9,240

3,794

Awarded

7,018

3,216

Refused

6,543

2,864

Pending

2,034

1,506

Treatment Benefit

2014

End May 2015

Received - Dental

332,500

178,400

Awarded - Dental

310,350

162,800

Refused - Dental

21,100

11,400

Pending - Dental

1,020

4,200

Received - Ophthalmic

159,500

81,200

Awarded - Ophthalmic

149,000

76,100

Refused - Ophthalmic

10,000

4,400

Pending - Ophthalmic

11

700

There continues to be strong demand across all these schemes.

Carer's allowance receipts to date in 2015 are up 5% on the same period in 2014 (7,462).

Disability allowance receipts to date in 2015 are up 12% on the same period in 2014 (8,228).

Invalidity pension receipts to date in 2015 are down 2% on the same period in 2014 (3,865).

Treatment benefit receipts to date in 2015 are up 15% on the same period in 2014 (225,029).