Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Ceisteanna (2821)

Danny Healy-Rae

Ceist:

2821. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason additional resources can not be allocated to the carer's section to speed up the applications in view of the fact the waiting time at present is perceived as unacceptable; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33875/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care.

My Department is committed to providing a quality service to all its customers. This includes ensuring that applications are processed as quickly as possible.

In general, social welfare schemes with a number of complex qualifying conditions can take longer to process. In some cases the documentary evidence provided at initial application stage is incomplete or insufficient and this can lead to delays in processing.

To qualify for CA, the carer must show that they are habitually resident in the State, that they are providing full-time care and attention to a person who requires this level of care and that their means are less than the statutory limit.

Where any scheme area experiences delays, all possible steps are taken to improve processing times. This includes the assignment of additional resources, where available, and the review of business processes, to ensure the efficient processing of applications.

At the end of June 2019 the average waiting time for a decision on a new CA claim was 13 weeks. A review of business processes has identified opportunities to implement a number of improvements and efficiencies. Additional resources will be applied to claim processing to reduce delays. The position is being closely monitored and kept under review by the Department to ensure that all CA applications are dealt with promptly.

Like all Government departments and agencies, my Department is required to operate within a staff ceiling figure and a commensurate administrative staffing budget. The staffing needs for all areas within the Department are continuously reviewed, taking account of workloads, management priorities and the on-going need to respond to new increasing demands in a wide range of services. This is 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.

Question No. 2822 answered with Question No. 2756.