Dáil debates

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

Social Welfare Appeals

4:50 pm

Photo of Joe O'BrienJoe O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Green Party) | Oireachtas source

I am acutely aware that the time taken in processing appeals is hugely important to the people who submit an appeal, and that it directly impacts on their lives. It is a very important point to note that those who apply for formal payments, like carer’s allowance or jobseeker’s allowance, can apply for a supplementary welfare allowance from the community welfare officer while they are awaiting the payment application to be processed. That is an important point to note.

The drive for efficiency must be balanced with the competing demand to ensure decisions are consistent, of high quality, and made in accordance with the legislative provisions and the general principal of fair procedures and natural justice.

The chief appeals officer has assured me she continues to monitor processing times and ensures every effort is made to reduce the time taken to process an appeal. The chief appeals officer ensures the programme of training for newly appointed appeals officers is completed as early as possible. The appeals process is heavily reliant on paper files and an IT project is under way to modernise the process. While the project will take some time to complete, the new structure should reduce the office's reliance on paper files, radically change the current processes and help to reduce processing times.

I thank the Deputy for raising this matter and assure him that everything is being done to ensure appeals are processed as quickly as possible. I will respond to him in relation to the question on CWOs.


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