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Social Protection | Social welfare appeals processing order

To ask the Minister for Social Protection the degree to which social welfare appeals by applicants can be expedited in order to ensure that hardship does not occur; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


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 time taken to process an appeal reflects a number of factors including that the appeals process is a quasi-judicial process with Appeals Officers being required to decide all appeals on a ‘de-novo’ basis.  In addition, appeals decisions are themselves subject to review by the High Court and decisions have to be formally written up to quasi-judicial standards.

The desire to process appeals quickly has to be balanced with the competing demand to ensure that decisions are consistent and of high quality and made in accordance with the legislative provisions and the general principles of fair procedures and natural justice.  

The Social Welfare Appeals Office seeks to deal with appeals in chronological order but on occasion an appeal will be prioritised if the circumstances require this.

Anyone experiencing financial difficulties while awaiting a decision on an appeal should contact their local Intreo Centre and enquire as to their entitlement to a payment under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme.  If such a claim for supplementary welfare allowance is disallowed that itself is an appealable decision.  

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

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