Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Ceisteanna (2744, 2745)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

2744. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason appeals in respect of carer’s benefit increased by 47.3% in 2018; the number of appeals to which the percentage corresponds; the grounds on which the appeals were made; the number of same that were successful, refused, withdrawn and or revised; the reasons therefor; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33102/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

2745. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of appeals in respect of carer’s benefit in each of the past five years; the number which were successful, refused, withdrawn and revised, respectively; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33103/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2744 and 2745 together.

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.

All decisions taken by Deciding Officers / Designated Persons of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection are appealable to the Chief Appeals Officer. About 85% of all claims are awarded and just 1% appealed annually.

As regards the increase in carer’s benefit appeal receipts referred to by the Deputy, it is important to note the context of the significant increase in the number of carer’s benefit applications received by my Department in recent years. 1,344 applications were received in 2016, 3,590 applications were received in 2017 and 4,101 applications were received in 2018. In 2017 a total of 468 carer's benefit applications were refused and in 2018 the figure was 649, an increase of 38.7%. The 47.3% increase in carer's benefit appeals referred to by the Deputy relates to the difference between the 110 appeals received in 2017 and the 162 appeals received in 2018.

Applications for carer’s benefit may be disallowed because the applicant does not satisfy one, or more, of the required qualifying conditions for receipt of a payment. For example, an applicant may not satisfy the qualifying condition in relation to insurance contributions, or they are deemed not to be providing full time care and attention to the care recipient or the care recipient is deemed not sufficiently incapacitated to require full time care and attention. In some appeal cases the appellant may have been awarded a carer’s benefit payment but has submitted an appeal regarding the means assessed against them or the date of award of the payment.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office does not maintain statistics on the specific grounds of appeal submitted by carer's benefit appellants.

Appeals which have a favourable outcome for the appellant consist of appeals which were either allowed in full or in part by an Appeals Officer, or which were resolved by way of a revised decision in favour of the appellant by a Deciding Officer / Designated Person.

There are a number of reasons why a decision which was refused at first instance might be successful on appeal and it is not necessarily the case that the first decision was incorrect. It is often the case that new evidence is provided with an appeal and that, as a result, the original decision may be revised by the Deciding Officer or Designated Person. This was the case in 60.9% of such successful outcomes of carer’s benefit appeals in 2017, 59.1% of such outcomes in 2018 and 50% of such outcomes to the end of June 2019.

Where the decision is not revised by the Department in light of the appeal contentions, further evidence is often provided by the appellant as the appeal process proceeds and in addition, the Appeals Officer may gain insights when they meet the appellant in person at oral hearing which may influence the outcome of the appeal.

The following four tables provide statistics on applications for carer's benefit for the years 2016, 2017 and 2017, the number of refusals of applications in the same period, the number of carer's benefit appeals in the period 2014-2019 and the appeals outcomes in the same period.

I trust clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer’s Benefit applications received by Carer’s Benefit Section of the Department

2016

1,344

2017

3,590

2018

4,101

Refusal of Carer’s Benefit Applications by Deciding Officers of the Department

2016

366

2017

468

2018

649

Carer’s Benefit Appeal Receipts (2014-2019)

2014

121

2015

93

2016

95

2017

110

2018

162

2019 (to June 2019)

123

Outcome of Carer’s Benefit Appeals (2014-2019)

-

Allowed By Appeals Officer

Partially Allowed By Appeals Officer

Revised DO/DP Decision

Disallowed ByAppeals Officer

Withdrawn

Total

2014

3727.6%

43.0%

4231.3%

4332.1%

86.0%

134

2015

2522.7%

54.5%

5247.3%

2724.5%

10.9%

110

2016

1115.5%

34.2%

3245.1%

2332.4%

22.8%

71

2017

2322.1%

21.9%

3937.5%

3735.6%

32.9%

104

2018

3223.4%

42.9%

5238.0%

4633.6%

32.2%

137

2019 (to 30/6/2019)

2927.6%

11.0%

3028.6%

4139.0%

43.8%

105