Written answers

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Department of Social Protection

Social Welfare Appeals

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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126. To ask the Minister for Social Protection if she will make arrangements whereby the Social Welfare Appeals Office will deal with appeals regarding the recovery of overpayments especially where the member of the public is not satisfied that the approach being taking by the Department and that the Department's code of conduct is not independent of the Department and this matter should be able to be dealt with by the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office and while this is not the case it may cause severe difficulties for persons; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46891/14]

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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When a revised decision on a person’s social welfare entitlement is made, the Deciding Officer has regard to the full facts of the case. Where it is decided that there is a retrospective reduction in the claimant’s entitlement, an overpayment is assessed.

When a revised decision has been made, the claimant is notified and given the right to appeal the decision within 21 days. The person is also entitled to seek an internal review of the decision by another Deciding Officer at this time. Once the right of appeal has been exercised (or not), the Department will then consider the recovery of the overpayment. At this point, the overpayment becomes a debt owed to the Department. A person’s debt may be comprised of one overpayment or a number of overpayments.

When seeking to recover a debt by deduction from ongoing entitlements, the Department does not propose making any deductions that would likely visit hardship on beneficiaries. The Department will allow the person to put forward any circumstances that s/he feels may be relevant to the rate of recovery proposed.


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