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Written Answers - Social Welfare Benefits

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 762 No. 1

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 112.  Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton  when a decision will issue on an application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Roscommon; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19562/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I confirm that an application for carer’s allowance was received from the above named.

On completion of the necessary investigations relating to all aspects of his claim, a decision will be made and the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

 113.  Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton  the current processing time for family income supplement renewals; the steps she is taking to address this problem;; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19565/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Department is committed to providing a quality service to all its customers. This includes ensuring that applications are processed and that decisions on entitlement are made as quickly as possible.

The waiting time for renewal FIS claims is currently between 9-10 weeks.

The volume of FIS claims on hands and the delays in processing are a consequence of continued strong claim intake.

The Department has introduced a number of measures to address the efficiency of claim processing for FIS in light of the current waiting times:

Existing processes and procedures are reviewed on an ongoing basis with the explicit objective of reducing delays in claim processing;

Priority is being given to renewal claims to preserve continuity of payment;

The ongoing staffing requirement is being kept under review in light of the continued strong claim intake;

Additional temporary staff have been recruited to help reduce the backlog;

Overtime working is being applied where feasible.

These measures are aimed at reducing the number of claims on hand and the average waiting time for a decision. The position is being closely monitored and kept under review by the Department.

 114.  Deputy Áine Collins Information on Áine Collins Zoom on Áine Collins  asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton  when a decision will be made regarding an application for child benefit (details supplied). [19570/12]

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 24th 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. [185] These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 20th March 2012 and the case was assigned to an Appeals Officer who proposes to hold an oral hearing in this case.

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 which require oral hearings and, in order to be fair to all appellants, they are dealt with in strict chronological order.

While every effort is being made to deal with the large numbers awaiting oral hearing as quickly as possible, it is not possible to give a date when the person’s oral hearing will be heard, but s/he will be informed when arrangements have been made.

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.


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