Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Ceisteanna (698)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

698. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the average waiting time for decisions on social welfare payments in tabular form; the number of persons awaiting decisions on such payments; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52949/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department is committed to ensuring that claims for its schemes are processed as quickly as possible.  The following table shows claims performance results for November 2019:

Scheme     

No. of applications pending     

Average No. of weeks to award  

State pension (contributory)

5,079

7

Widow(er)'s & surviving civil partner's contributory pension 

450

4

State pension (non-contributory)

1,394

12

Jobseekers allowance

4,245

1

Jobseekers benefit

1,911

1

One-parent family payment

542

3

Supplementary welfare allowance

699

1

Maternity benefit

474

6

Paternity benefit

506

6

Carer's allowance

3,783

12

Carer's benefit

613

10

Disability allowance

4,994

12

Invalidity pension

2,305

12

Illness benefit

2,171

1

Occupational injury benefit

2,685

1

Child benefit

1,552

3

Working family payment

3,269

3

Domiciliary care allowance

1,075

10

Household benefits

1,061

1

Free travel

5

1

Treatment benefit

N/A

N/A

Means tested schemes have more complexity attached to the processing of applications. In a disability allowance claim, for example, in addition to providing evidence of habitual residence in the State and of the income and assets they hold, a claimant must provide details of their medical condition and the extent to which it restricts them from taking up employment.  Likewise, for carer’s allowance, details of the income and assets of the claimant, together with medical certification identifying the care needs of the person being cared for on a full-time basis, must be provided.

I wish to reassure the Deputy that claim processing is kept under active review, with all possible steps 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.  The Department's claims performance statistics indicate that over the period September-November 2019, the average no. of weeks to award has been generally maintained across the majority of schemes, with state pension contributory, jobseeker's allowance and working family payment processing showing an improvement in processing times.  

 I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.