Wednesday, 20 September 2017
Social Welfare Benefits Reviews
I take the Deputy's point on board. I do not need to conduct a review because we carry out one on a monthly basis. Every month, at a management meeting, we ask what the turnaround times for payments and appeals are. There are difficulties. The Deputy is probably aware that domiciliary care allowance applications have increased quite dramatically over the past couple of months so, therefore, the 12-week target is not being met but we have redrafted new staff, are training them, have put them in the Longford office and are hoping to bring it back from 16 weeks at the moment to 12. Where peaks and troughs exist, we look at them. There is constant monitoring regarding the appeals office but the turnaround time would be much faster if people were more willing to give all of the information in the first instance.
I take on board what the Deputy is saying and we will certainly look at it. If there are individual cases of hardship, as described by the Deputy, and I know we could all come up with them, they need to be brought to the attention of either the local Intreo office or higher up to the local principal officer to make sure people are looked after from a community welfare perspective.