Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Ceisteanna (243)

John Brady


243. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of staff working within the carer's allowance section; the number in each area within the section; when staff were last taken on in the section; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1829/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department, like all Government departments and agencies, is required to operate within a staff ceiling figure and a commensurate administrative staffing budget, which for this Department has involved reductions in staff numbers.

At the end of December 2018, there were 75.02 FTE’s (77 people) assigned to the Carers Allowance section.

There are two areas within the Carers Allowance Section:

(i) Maintenance Section – Currently, there are 38.55 FTE’s (39 people) assigned to this area.

This section maintains the claims of 79,914 carers and their 47,973 qualified children as well as dealing with queries in relation to their 87,589 care recipients. On a weekly basis the section replies to emails, processes PQs, replies to written/email representations, re-assesses customer requests for re-assessment, reviews decisions on foot of pre-appeal reviews and appeals as well as answering phone-calls on a dedicated Oireachtas phone-line.

(ii) New Claims section – Currently, there are 36.47 FTE’s (38 people)

This section processes approx. 400 applications per week, issuing arrears and implementing Appeals Officer decisions on a weekly basis.

My Department is focusing on prioritising the filling of critical posts. The staffing needs for all areas within the Department, including the Carers Allowance Section, are continuously reviewed, taking account of workloads, management priorities and the competing demands arising, to ensure that the best use is made of all available resources with a view to providing an efficient service to those who rely on the schemes operated by the Department.

Since 1st June 2018 there has been 6 new staff assigned to the Carers Allowance section, (6 FTE).