lab1Some 52pc of appeals were granted with 69pc of people who were refused the domiciliary care allowance – paid in respect of children who have severe disabilities – eventually being granted the benefit, according to the data from the Department for Social Protection.

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton said: “There has been a rapid and sustained increase in the number of appeals received in the social welfare appeals office since 2009.

“Up to 2009, the average number of appeals received was 15,000 per annum whereas in 2012, the number of appeals received peaked at 35,484, reducing to 32,777 appeals in 2013.

“In parallel, the number of appeals finalised in the appeals office increased from 17,787 in 2009 to 38,421 in 2013.

An additional 5,863 appeals were finalised in 2013 compared to 2012.

Good progress has also been made in reducing the number of appeals on hand from 20,414 at 1 January 2013 to 10,586 at July 14, 2014.”

Replying to a series of parliamentary questions, she said the social welfare appeals office functioned independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and was responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

She added: “Appeal processing times are calculated from the registration date of the appeal to the date of its finalisation. They include all activities during this period, including time spent awaiting any clarification from the appellant.”

The minister said that in order to manage this increasing workload, significant resources and efforts had been put into reducing backlogs and improving appeals processing times.

An application for a carer’s allowance can take 21 weeks to process while someone awaiting the transition state pension may wait 37.8 weeks.

Irish Independent

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