Thursday, 7 October 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Social Welfare Payments
287. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the total number of persons aged 100 years or more in Ireland and in receipt of an appropriate social welfare payment or have been refused such a payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49000/21]
The information requested by the Deputy where available is set out in the table below. I am advised that there were no refused applications recorded for persons aged 100 or older in September. The numbers in the table below refer to the main recipient of the scheme and does not include any adult dependants who may be aged 100 or older.
Persons Aged 100+ in Ireland in receipt of Social Protection Payments
|State Pension Contributory||156|
|State Pension Non Contributory||185|
|Widow(er)'s Contributory Pension||222|
The table below sets out the amount of Rent Supplement paid out by the Department of Social Protection in each of the years 2019, 2020 and up to the end of September 2021.
|Rent Supplement Expenditure||€m|
|Year to Date September 2021||98.7|
289. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the extent to which the processing of applications for the carer’s and disability allowance is in line with the most expeditious practice; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49082/21]
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.
The table below shows the very significant improvement in new claim decision making that has been achieved over recent years for Carer's Allowance (CA) and Disability Allowance (DA). This has been maintained by my Department throughout the period of the pandemic.
|Average time (weeks) for new claim decision|
|Scheme Name||2018||2019||2020||As at end august 2021|
There are no delays in processing claims where all of the information is provided to establish entitlement to CA and DA schemes.
I hope this clarifies the position for the Deputy.
290. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the extent to which the processing of appeals for the carer’s and disability allowance is in line with the most expeditious practice; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49083/21]
The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.
The tables below provide details of the processing of appeals for Carer's Allowance and Disability Allowance for 2020 and to the end of September 2021.
The time taken to process an appeal reflects all aspects of the appeal process including the time spent in the Department reviewing the decision in light of the appeal contentions and/or preparing the appeal submission. Some 20% of cases will be revised in favour of the appellant as a result of this review process. In some cases, further investigation may be required at this point (e.g. in relation to means or medical issues) and this can add to the time taken to process an appeal.
The appeals process is a quasi-judicial process with Appeals Officers being required to decide all appeals on a ‘de-novo’ basis. Appeal decisions are subject to review by the High Court. The nature of the appeals process impacts on the processing times which are proportionate to the complexity of many of the issues under appeal which often require a high level of judgement in addition to the need to ensure due process and natural justice.
Appeals may be determined on a summary basis or by means of an oral hearing. Where an oral hearing is required the logistics involved in scheduling the hearing and giving the appellant and any other witnesses adequate notice adds to the timeframe involved.
Other factors which impact on processing times include increased complexity, an increasing demand for oral hearings and the loss of Appeals Officer experience and corporate knowledge due to the high number of retirements in recent years. Ensuring that appeal processing times are as short as possible is a priority for the Chief Appeals Officer.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.
Appeal processing times (weeks) 2020 - 2021
|Carer’s Allowance||Oral hearing||Summary decision|
|2021 to end of September||20.7||11.3|
Appeal processing times (weeks) 2020 – 2021
|Disability Allowance||Oral hearing||Summary decision|
|2021 to end of September||21.3||11.9|