Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Ceisteanna (632)

John Brady

Ceist:

632. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the waiting times for appeal for all social welfare payments in tabular form. [11513/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The average appeal processing times for 2018 and to date in 2019 are outlined in the following tables.

All claim decisions taken by the Department’s Deciding Officers and Designated Persons are appealable to the Chief Appeals Officer. In any year about 85% of all claims are awarded by the Department and just 1% are appealed.

Nevertheless, the Department is concerned that these cases are dealt with as quickly as possible.

Accordingly, a number of new Appeals Officers have joined the Appeals Office over the past 12-18 months, to replace staff leaving on retirement. Given the complexity of the appeals process it takes some time for new staff to be trained up and develop expertise and this has led to somewhat longer processing times during this period. The Chief Appeals Officer has advised me that appeal processing times continue to be a priority for her Office.

Significant efforts and resources have been devoted to reforming the appeal process in recent years. As a result, appeal processing times in respect of all schemes improved between 2011 and 2017 from 52.5 weeks for an oral hearing in 2011 to 26.4 weeks in 2017 and from 25.1 weeks for a summary decision in 2011 to 19.8 weeks in 2017. The corresponding processing times for the year 2018 were 30.0 weeks for an oral hearing and 24.8 weeks for a summary decision.

The time taken to process an appeal reflects a number of factors including that the appeals process is a quasi-judicial process with appeals officers being required to decide all appeals on a ‘de-novo’ basis. In addition, appeals decisions are themselves subject to review by the High Court and decisions have to be formally written up to quasi-judicial standards. Other factors that influence appeals processing times include the quality of the initial decision – in this respect the Department has changed the decisions process in respect of medical schemes, in order to provide more information to the claimant. I expect that this will help to reduce the number of appeals over time.

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.

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

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Appeal Processing Times by Scheme 1 January 2018 – 31 December 2018

-

Average processing times (weeks)Summary Decisions

Average processing times (weeks)Oral Hearings

Blind Person’s Pension

33.7

27.7

Carer’s Allowance

24.3

28.4

Carer’s Benefit

22.2

25.6

Child Benefit

36.1

42.7

Disability Allowance

17.1

23.8

Illness Benefit

30.7

36.5

Partial Capacity Benefit

32.6

32.8

Domiciliary Care Allowance

31.6

36.2

Deserted Wife’s Allowance

70.6 (1 case)

Nil

Deserted Wife’s Benefit

28.7

69.1 (5 cases)

Farm Assist

44.0

47.8

Bereavement Grant

36.1

Nil

Death Benefit (Pension)

31.5

Nil

Working Family Payment *

29.4

40.1

Invalidity Pension

24.7

30.2

Liable Relatives

44.0

30.7

Maternity Benefit

30.4

30.7

Paternity Benefit

32.7

23.0

One Parent Family Payment

31.7

37.0

State Pension (Contributory)

39.9

50.2

State Pension (Non-Contributory)

32.2

43.0

Occupational Injury Benefit

36.0

50.7

Disablement Pension

34.3

34.6

OIB-Medical Care

17.5

Nil

Incapacity Supplement

38.7

29.7

Guardian's Payment (Contributory)

29.8

28.9

Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)

25.5

29.6

Jobseeker's Allowance (Means)

31.9

36.8

Jobseeker's Allowance (Payments)

25.2

31.4

BTW Family Dividend

30.8

Nil

Jobseeker's Transitional

30.1

28.5

Recoverable Benefits & Assistance

34.9

Nil

Pre-Retirement Allowance

64.0 (1 case)

29.9

Jobseeker's Benefit

25.1

28.5

Carer’s Support Grant

28.0

31.9

Insurability of Employment

53.0

63.9

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

20.7

29.1

Widow/Widower's Pension (Contributory)

35.0

32.8

Widow/Widower's Pension (Non-Contributory)

28.4

25.7

Widowed Parent Grant

45.1

43.7

All Appeals

24.8

30.0

* Previously called Family Income Supplement

Appeal Processing Times by Scheme 1 January 2019– 28 February 2019

-

Average processing times (weeks)Summary Decisions

Average processing times (weeks)Oral Hearings

Blind Person’s Pension

19.6

Nil

Carer’s Allowance

26.3

27.8

Carer’s Benefit

27.9

18.1

Child Benefit

33.4

48.7

Disability Allowance

17.0

21.8

Illness Benefit

36.5

35.3

Partial Capacity Benefit

37.8

Nil

Domiciliary Care Allowance

30.2

33.4

Deserted Wife’s Allowance

20.4

Nil

Deserted Wife’s Benefit

91.7 (1 case)

30.4

Farm Assist

26.9

27.6

Bereavement Grant

39.7

Nil

Working Family Payment *

30.5

32.9

Invalidity Pension

27.4

29.3

Liable Relatives

25.9

Nil

Maternity Benefit

36.2

Nil

Paternity Benefit

31.5

Nil

One Parent Family Payment

34.5

27.4

State Pension (Contributory)

36.4

41.8

State Pension (Non-Contributory)

40.2

39.9

Occupational Injury Benefit

32.3

63.5

Disablement Pension

30.3

34.1

Incapacity Supplement

Nil

39.3

Guardian's Payment (Contributory)

19.2

Nil

Guardian's Payment (Non-Con)

19.7

Nil

Jobseeker's Allowance (Means)

31.0

37.8

Jobseeker's Allowance (Payments)

24.8

32.5

BTW Family Dividend

30.6

Nil

Jobseeker's Transitional

32.5

40.2

Recoverable Benefits & Assistance

40.9

Nil

Jobseeker's Benefit

25.3

24.7

Carer’s Support Grant

26.3

34.0

Insurability of Employment

76.3 (7 cases)

96.6 (10 cases)**

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

20.9

24.3

Widow/Widower's Pension (Contributory)

38.0

36.2

Widow/Widower's Pension (Non-Contributory)

24.4

Nil

All Appeals

25.0

28.7

* Previously called Family Income Supplement

** Includes the finalisation of 2 exceptionally long-running cases