Written answers

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Benefits Waiting Times

Photo of Niamh SmythNiamh Smyth (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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72. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the waiting times for the processing of applications for carer's allowance and carer's benefit; the number of applications waiting to be processed by county in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50149/19]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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My Department is committed to providing a quality service to all its customers, ensuring that applications are processed and that decisions on entitlement are made as quickly as possible.

Processing times vary across schemes, depending on the different qualification criteria.  Schemes that require a high level of documentary evidence from the customer, particularly in the case of illness-related schemes, can take longer to process.  Similarly, means-tested payments also require more detailed investigation and interaction with the applicant, thereby lengthening the decision making process.  Delays can also arise if information is required from social security organisations in other jurisdictions and where additional information has been requested from the applicant but remains outstanding.  

I am pleased to report that the time taken to process a new claim for both Carers Allowance (CA) and Carers Benefit (CARB) has reduced over recent months.  The average time taken to award a CA claim was 10 weeks which is an improvement on the August figure of 16 weeks.  The average time taken to award a CARB claim was 10 weeks which is an improvement on the August figure of 13 weeks. 

I wish to reassure the Deputy that claim processing is kept under active review, with additional and target attention currently focused on Carer's Allowance.  This includes, since September, the assignment of a number of temporary staff to assist with processing new applications for Carer's Allowance, coupled with the implementation of a new business process.  There has been a similar focus on CARB claim processing.  These changes have worked well and have had a positive outcome in reducing claim processing times.  It is intended that current processing times will be maintained over the coming months.

I can assure the Deputy of my Department's commitment to providing a quality service to all its customers.

I have attached a breakdown of the number of applications in process by county in tabular form.

Table: Carers Allowance/Benefit in process as of October 31

County Number of Carers Allowance Claims Pending Number of Carers Benefit Claims Pending 
Carlow 67 4
Cavan 100 12
Clare 95 13
Cork 441 79
Donegal 202 32
Dublin 986 166
Galway 209 35
Kerry 147 29
Kildare 163 28
Kilkenny 75 12
Laois 84 9
Leitrim 34 3
Limerick 219 29
Longford 51 2
Louth 138 25
Mayo 137 18
Meath 127 29
Monaghan 49 6
Offaly 111 14
Roscommon 73 16
Sligo 65 9
Tipperary 204 15
Unknown 91* 0
Waterford 115 11
Westmeath 94 12
Wexford 154 19
Wicklow 122 13
Outside Republic of Ireland 4 6
Total 4,266 646

* End of month report - 91 CA claims unscanned at end month so breakdown by County unavailable.


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