Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Ceisteanna (2710)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

2710. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the length of time it is taking to process disability allowance applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32604/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is committed to making decisions on entitlement as quickly as possible. The current processes in place and resources assigned to this area of the Department, along with the number of Medical Assessors available to provide medical opinions are kept under constant review to ensure that any delays are minimised.

The processing time for individual Disability Allowance (DA) claims will vary in accordance with their relative complexity in terms of the three main qualifying criteria, the person’s circumstances and the information they provide in support of their claim. By their nature individual DA claims are complex – the Deciding Officers must consider the applicants’ medical condition and its impact on their ability to work, the applicants’ means and the applicants’ residency situation. In a significant number of cases additional information is required in order to make a decision. Because of this complexity these claims by their very nature take time to complete and require substantial attention to ensure a full decision. The average processing time for a DA new application for the first six months of 2019 was 14 weeks.

People who are awaiting a decision on their DA application can and do access Supplementary Welfare Allowance payments via their local Community Welfare Service administered via Intreo offices across the country. These regular weekly payments as well as once off Exceptional Needs Payments where appropriate ensure that people are not without a source of income while they wait for the processing of their DA application to be completed.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.