Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Social Welfare Appeals Waiting Times
1137. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the average waiting period by county or district for oral hearings to be held and final decisions to be made in respect of appeals lodged with the Social Welfare Appeals Office, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2915/20]
The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.
The Social Welfare Appeals Office does not maintain statistics on a county by county or district basis in relation to appeal processing and, therefore, it is not in a position to supply that specific information.
Significant efforts and resources have been devoted to reforming the appeal process in recent years. As a result, appeal processing times in respect of all schemes improved between 2018 and 2019 from 30 weeks for an oral hearing in 2018 to 26.9 weeks in 2019. There has been further improvement for January 2020 with an oral hearing decision taking 25.6 weeks. The processing time is measured from the date the appeal is registered until the date the decision is issued and includes the time taken for the Department to respond to the statements made by the appellant in their appeal.
Appeal processing times for the year 2019 and for January 2020 for all schemes are set out in the attached tables.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.