Wednesday, 4 December 2019
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Social Welfare Benefits Waiting Times
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]
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|
|Outside Republic of Ireland||4||6|
* End of month report - 91 CA claims unscanned at end month so breakdown by County unavailable.