Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Employment Affairs & Social Protection, Willie O’Dea TD received new information this month, which reveals that over 58% of social welfare appeals made in the first 11 months of 2018 were successful.

Deputy O’Dea has welcomed the favourable outcomes, but says questions why the applications were refused in the first instance.

“While I appreciate that efforts have been made in recent years to simplify forms and make the process of applying for a social welfare payment more transparent, it is evident from the stats I’ve received that more needs to be done to address the number of social welfare appeals that are being lodged. After all, majority are subsequently resulting in a favourable outcome”, said Deputy O’Dea.

“Significant time and resources are being allocated to the appeals process instead of being given to provide greater assistance to those applying for a welfare payment.

“I am also concerned about the significant length of time it is taking for appeals to be processed. As of the end of November 2018, the average processing time for a summary decision on an appeal was 25 weeks, with the length of time for an oral hearing coming in at 30 weeks. This is a lengthy wait and is undoubtedly creating significant hardship and stress for people who are waiting for their entitlement to an essential welfare payment to be determined.

“The Minister certainly needs to make a concerted effort to get the fundamentals of Social Welfare System right and ensure that it is working effectively and efficiently for the people it is supposed to serve”.