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Written Answers - Social Welfare Appeals

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 No. 3

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 257.  Deputy John Paul Phelan Information on John Paul Phelan Zoom on John Paul Phelan  asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton  the reason for the backlog in cases being processed by the appeals office and in particular a case (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6446/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 5 January 2012. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 11 January 2012 and the appeal will, in due course, be assigned to an Appeals Officer for consideration.

There has been a very significant increase in the number of appeals received by the Social Welfare Appeals Office since 2007 when the intake was 14,070 to 2010 and 2011 when the intake rose to 32,432 and 31,241 respectively. This has significantly impacted on the processing time for appeals, especially those which require oral hearings, and, in order to be fair to all appellants, appeals are dealt with in strict chronological order.

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

Question No. 258 withdrawn.

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