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Social Protection | Application wait times for social welfare payments

To ask the Minister for Social Protection the extent to which waiting times for payments in respect of means-tested applications compare with contribution related payments; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

To ask the Minister for Social Protection the extent to which the waiting time for decision in respect of applications for various social welfare payments has been shortened; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY

My Department understands the many pressures faced by customers and always seeks to ensure that claims are processed quickly and efficiently.

Processing times vary across schemes, depending on the differing eligibility criteria.  Schemes that require a higher level of documentary evidence from the customer, particularly in the case of illness-related schemes, can take longer to process.  Similarly, means-tested schemes, which necessitate the submission of certain financial documentation, can require more detailed investigation and interaction with the customer, thereby lengthening the decision-making process.

I am pleased to report that claims processing is generally up to date, with processing targets met and exceeded for most of the primary schemes.  This is for both the means-tested and contributory schemes.  My department continues to ensure that customer service is maintained at a high level.

The average processing times across the main schemes is outlined in the table below.  

  • For the majority of schemes, the claim processing performance measure of ‘weeks-to-award’ has continued to exceed performance targets and has remained consistent or has shortened when compared with end-December 2021 results.
  • 8 of the 10 contributory schemes show consistent weeks-to-award results at end-October 2022, when compared with end-December 2021 results.    
  • 6 of the 8 non-contributory schemes show consistent or shortened weeks-to-award results at end-October 2022, when compared with end-December 2021.
Social Welfare SchemeAverage weeks-to- award a claim at end-December 2021Average weeks-to- award a claim in Oct 2022Performance target weeks-to-award
 
Contributory Schemes
 
   
Carer’s Benefit4712
Child Benefit224
Illness Benefit111
Invalidity Pension8810
Jobseekers Benefit113
Maternity Benefit66By due date
Occupational Injury Benefit111
Paternity Benefit66By commencement date
State Pension Contributory56By date of entitlement
Widows & Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension116
 
Non-Contributory Schemes
 
   
Carer’s Allowance5511
Disability Allowance5710
Domiciliary Care Allowance12610
Jobseekers Allowance116
One Parent Family Payment5310
State Pension Non-Contributory7612
Supplementary Welfare Allowance111
Working Family Payment346
 
Free Travel & Household Benefits
 
   
Free Travel262
Household Benefits114


In recent years, my Department has introduced a wide range of initiatives aimed at streamlining the processing of claims, supported by modern technology.  Operational processes, procedures and the organisation of work are continually reviewed to ensure that processing capability is maximized.

In addition, the staffing needs of the Department are regularly reviewed, having regard to workloads and the competing demands arising, to ensure that the best use is made of all available resources.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

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