I propose to take Questions Nos. 649 and 650 together.
My Department is committed to ensuring that the principles of due process and natural justice are followed in all claim investigations and decisions. This applies equally to decisions at initial claim stage and when claims are subsequently reviewed. The Department’s guidelines on Decision Making and Natural Justice are published on the website - www.welfare.ie. This message is reinforced through guidelines, bulletins and staff training.
As part of the process of finalising a decision, the deciding officer or designated person (in the case of the administration of payments under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance provisions), is required to engage with the person concerned and offer them the opportunity to provide additional information in support of their claim. In addition, the customer may seek a review or may appeal any decision made under the Social Welfare Acts to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office.
If there is a particular case that the Deputy is concerned about, he should bring it to my attention and I will ask my officials to examine it.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.