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Social Protection | Comparison of waiting times for payments in respect of means-tested applications and contribution related 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.


My Department reports on targets agreed between the Management Board and relevant scheme areas on a scheme by scheme basis and not on the basis of processing times for means tested schemes compared to those for contributory based schemes.  

Some schemes such as long-term illness related schemes require a high level of documentary evidence from the customer resulting in longer processing times while other schemes may not require the same level of documentation and can be processed in a shorter time span. For this reason all scheme specific eligibility criteria is taken into account when establishing each schemes processing target. This being the case, a comparison between processing times for means tested schemes versus contributory schemes is of little value.

On a monthly basis, each schemes actual processing is compared to their target. In addition we look at the average number of weeks it takes award a new application. Any variance is then investigated and corrective action taken where required.

My Department strives to ensure that all claims are processed as quickly and efficiently as possible and customer service is maintained at a high level.  I am pleased to report that the majority of schemes are meeting targets at present.

Processing times for the main scheme areas are as follows at end of December 2022:

Scheme Target Set% Achieved     December 2022Average weeks to award         December 2022
Contribution based Schemes   
State Pension Contributory90%  by date of
Widow(er)’s Contributory Pension 90% in 6 weeks95%1
Jobseeker’s Benefit 90% in 3 weeks96%1
Maternity Benefit 90% by due date93%6
Paternity Benefit 90% by commencement of leave94%6
Parents Benefit90% by commencement of leave86%1
Illness Benefit 90% in 1 week95%1
Carer’s Benefit 90% in 12 weeksNot Available6
Invalidity Pension 90% in 10 weeks90%8
Occupational Injury Benefit 90% in 1 week58%1
Means Tested Based Schemes   
State Pension (Non-Contributory) 75% in 12 weeks87%6
Jobseeker’s Allowance 90% in 6 weeks97%1
One-Parent Family Payment 90% in 10 weeks96%3
Working Family Payment 90% in 6 weeks5
Supplementary Welfare Allowance 90% in 1 week85%1
Disability Allowance 75% in 10 weeks83%8
Carer’s Allowance 75% in 11 Weeks87%7

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

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