“The numbers speak for themselves, there is something very wrong with a system where so many cases are refused on application, then approved on appeal.”

Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD today branded the Social Welfare claim assessment process as a “shambles”.

Deputy Shortall was reacting to figures released to her by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection giving details of applications that were overturned on appeal.

Deputy Shortall said: “The numbers speak for themselves, there is something very wrong with a system where so many cases are refused on application, then approved on appeal. The payments that have the highest number of decisions being overturned on appeal are for payments for people with disabilities or those caring for them. For example, over 60% of cases where a person appeals a decision to refuse Disability Allowance are overturned. There is clearly a massive problem with how the initial applications are assessed if the successful appeal rate is this high.”

Deputy Shortall went on to highlight a number of other standout figures from the data.

“Over 40% of Domiciliary Care Allowance and Invalidity Pension appeals are upheld, upwards of 35% of Disablement Benefit appeals are successful. The Minister needs to initiate a serious review of how applications for these payments are processed, there is clearly a problem when so many vulnerable people are allowed to slip through the net like this,” she added.

Deputy Shortall urged anyone who was unhappy with a decision on an application for a payment such as this to make an appeal, particularly in light of the fact that the success rate of appeals is climbing.

“I am very concerned that many of the initial refusals that have large numbers of successful appeals are ones for which medical evidence is required. In 2017 the success rate of appeals for Disability Allowance was 60%, in 2018 it was 62%. 43% of Domiciliary Care Allowance applications were found to be incorrectly refused in the first instance in 2018, this is up from 37% in 2017.

“The success rate of appeal of Invalidity Pension decisions jumped from 27% in 2017 to almost 42% in 2018. There is something very wrong with the decision making systems that allow this to happen and it is causing needless concern for applicants and more work and administrative costs for the Appeals Office. There is an obvious need for better expertise in the Department where the decisions are first examined so that time and resources are not wasted on appeals that shouldn’t be necessary.  ”

ENDS

29th January 2019

Appendix:

Figures provided to Deputy Shortall in response to PQ 1535/19

Outcome of Appeals by Category 2017

Allowed
By Appeals Officers
Partially Allowed By Appeals Officers Revised DO/DP Decision Disallowed By
Appeals Officers
Withdrawn Total
State Pension   (Non-Contributory) 75
21.9%
34
9.9%
78
22.7%
 128
37.3%
   28
8.2%
343
State Pension (Contributory) 35
9.9%
12
3.4%
76
21.5%
 218
61.6%
13
3.7%
354
State Pension (Transition) 1
33.3%
 2
66.7%
 3
Widow’s/Widower’s Pension   (Contributory) 8
25.8%
7
22.6%
15
 48.4%
1
3.2%
31
Death Benefit 1
100.0%
1
Bereavement Grant 1
100.0%
 –  –  1
Jobseeker’s Allowance –   Payments 349
22.2%
 66
4.2%
309
19.6%
  665
42.3%
184
 11.7%
1,573
Jobseeker’s Transitional  10
27.0%
  4
10.8%
  10
27.0%
   6
16.2%
  7
18.9%
   37
Jobseeker’s Allowance -Means 187
12.9%
82
5.6%
264
18.2%
708
48.7%
212
 14.6%
1,453
One Parent Family Payment  67
26.1%
19
7.4%
 54
21.0%
67
26.1%
 50
19.5%
257
Widow’s/Widower’s Pension   (Non-Contributory) 7
30.4%
4
 17.4%
3
13.0%
9
39.1%
23
Supplementary Welfare   Allowance 304
22.5%
 34
2.5%
229
17.0%
  602
44.6%
180
13.3%
1,349
Farm Assist 22
15.5%
18
12.7%
28
19.7%
 60
42.3%
14
 9.9%
142
Pre-Retirement Allowance 1
100.0%
1
Jobseeker’s Benefit 83
17.3%
21
4.4%
117
24.4%
206
43.0%
52
10.9%
  479
Deserted Wife’s Benefit 2
40.0%
1
 20.0%
 2
40.0%
5
Maternity Benefit 10
14.1%
3
4.2%
8
11.3%
49
69.0%
1
1.4%
71
Paternity Benefit 1
12.5%
3
37.5%
3
37.5%
1
12.5%
8
Adoptive Benefit 2
100.0%
2
Treatment Benefits 1
100.0%
1
Partial Capacity Benefit 15
33.3%
1
2.2%
 11
24.4%
14
31.1%
4
  8.9%
45
Disability Allowance 2,975
60.3%
 70
1.4%
563
11.4%
1,211
24.5%
 115
2.3%
4,934
Blind Pension 1
6.7%
1
6.7%
3
20.0%
7
46.7%
3
20.0%
15
Carer’s Allowance 1,204
35.2%
161
4.7%
          780
22.8%
1,199
35.1%
72
2.1%
3,416
Domiciliary Care Allowance 297
37.1%
10
1.2%
343
42.8%
135
16.9%
16
2.0%
801
Carer’s Support Grant 35
22.6%
2
1.3%
45
29.0%
 72
46.5%
1
0.6%
155
Illness Benefit 118
23.0%
 8
1.6%
140
27.2%
189
36.8%
59
11.5%
  514
Injury Benefit 3
7.9%
2
5.3%
27
71.1%
6
15.8%
38
Invalidity Pension   365
27.1%
7
0.5%
  691
51.3%
  262
19.4%
23
1.7%
1,348
Disablement Benefit 86
34.4%
19
7.6%
30
12.0%
109
43.6%
6
2.4%
250
Incapacity Supplement  3
 30.0%
 1
 10.0%
3
 30.0%
3
 30.0%
10
Medical Care 1
50.0%
1
50.0%
2
Carer’s Benefit 23
22.1%
2
1.9%
39
37.5%
37
35.6%
3
2.9%
104
Child Benefit  68
15.5%
23
5.3%
154
35.2%
178
40.6%
15
3.4%
438
Family Income Supplement 76
15.1%
15
3.0%
267
53.1%
130
25.8%
15
3.0%
503
Back To Work Family Dividend  7
 17.1%
  4
9.8%
 25
61.0%
 5
 12.2%
 41
Guardian’s Payment   (Non-Contributory) 5
33.3%
1
6.7%
2
13.3%
 7
46.7%
15
Guardian’s Payment   (Contributory) 13
39.4%
2
6.1%
 4
 12.1%
14
42.4%
33
Widowed Parent Grant  2
100.0%
2
Insurability 34
24.5%
4
 2.9%
 11
7.9%
37
26.6%
53
 38.1%
139
Liable Relatives 4
23.5%
 11
64.7%
2
 11.8%
17
Recoverable Benefits &   Assistance 3
11.5%
3
11.5%
 20
76.9%
26
TOTAL  APPEALS 6,493
34.2%
629
3.3%
4,283
22.6%
6,434
33.9%
1,141
6.0%
18,980

Outcome of Appeals by Category 2018

Allowed
By Appeals Officers
Partially Allowed By Appeals Officers Revised DO/DP Decision Disallowed By
Appeals Officers
Withdrawn Total
State Pension   (Non-Contributory) 85
23.4%
29
8.0%
70
19.3%
 144
39.7%
   35
9.6%
363
State Pension (Contributory) 35
9.5%
9
2.5%
64
17.4%
 244
66.5%
15
4.1%
367
Widow’s/Widower’s Pension   (Contributory) 18
45.0%
2
 5.0%
14
 35.0%
6
15.0%
40
Death Benefit 1
100.0%
1
Bereavement Grant  –  – 1
100.0%    
 1
Jobseeker’s Allowance –   Payments 280
18.0%
 99
6.4%
251
16.1%
  785
50.4%
141
  9.1%
1,556
Jobseeker’s Transitional   9
19.1%
  5
10.6%
   9
19.1%
   18
38.3%
  6
12.8%
   47
Jobseeker’s Allowance -Means 150
10.4%
83
5.8%
194
13.5%
836
58.1%
176
 12.2%
1,439
One Parent Family Payment  47
20.4%
13
5.7%
 46
20.0%
83
36.1%
 41
17.8%
230
Widow’s/Widower’s Pension   (Non-Contributory) 4
23.5%
2
 11.8%
10
58.8%
1
5.9%
17
Deserted Wife’s Allowance 1
100.0%
 –  1
Supplementary Welfare   Allowance 258
24.6%
 29
2.8%
179
17.1%
  467
44.6%
114
10.9%
1,047
Farm Assist 14
11.7%
11
 9.2%
18
15.0%
 62
51.7%
15
12.5%
120
Pre-Retirement Allowance 1    50.0% 1
50.0%
2
Jobseeker’s Benefit 109
18.3%
33
5.5%
129
21.6%
270
45.3%
55
 9.2%
  596
Deserted Wife’s Benefit 3
50.0%
 3
50.0%
6
Maternity Benefit   6
11.1%
13
24.1%
34
63.0%
1
1.9%
54
Paternity Benefit 1
 6.3%
1      6.3% 14
87.5%
16
Treatment Benefits 2
100.0%
2
Partial Capacity Benefit 16
50.0%
  2
 6.3%
13
40.6%
1
  3.1%
32
Disability Allowance 3,112
62.2%
 99
2.0%
462
 9.2%
1,256
25.1%
  77
1.5%
5,006
Blind Pension 2
14.3%
2
14.3%
3
21.4%
6
42.9%
1
 7.1%
14
Carer’s Allowance 1,047
38.6%
144
5.3%
         440
16.2%
  989
36.5%
90
3.3%
2,710
Domiciliary Care Allowance 686
43.6%
13
0.8%
590
37.5%
258
16.4%