Carer’s Allowance Applications to be Processed More Speedily

 

Carer’s Allowance Applications to be Processed More Speedily

Statement by Brendan Griffin TD (FG) Kerry

Tuesday, 23 October 2012.

KERRY Fine Gael TD, Brendan Griffin, has been assured by the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, that efforts are underway to process applications for Carer’s Allowance more speedily.

At present, there is an average of a 28 week waiting time for applications for Carer’s Allowance to be processed by the Department of Social Protection.

In a response to a recent Dáil Question from Deputy Griffin, Minister Burton acknowledged that the time taken to process carer’s allowance claims at present is not satisfactory but said that she is satisfied that the Department is taking appropriate action to resolve the situation.

Minister Burton said that the Carer’s Allowance section has recently completed a major service delivery modernisation project to improve the efficiency with which it processes applications from clients. She said that this project involved the development of IT functionality and associated business process re-organisation.

The Minister said that following the completion of the modernisation project, an in-depth business process improvement (BPI) project commenced for the carer’s allowance scheme and that this project focused on optimising output and customer service and the reduction of backlogs. The outcome of the review was the division of work into two streams, one concentrating on dealing with new claim intake and processing these without delay and the other on the backlog, which is ring-fenced with a clear and targeted plan for its elimination.

She said that the implementation of the plan will be closely monitored and managed to ensure it achieves its objectives but that it will take a number of months before the backlog is reduced to an acceptable level.

Deputy Griffin has welcomed the project to reduce the processing times and says that every effort must be made to ensure that the plan will be successful.

“I am contacted on a very regular basis by applicants for Carer’s Allowance, who are very frustrated with having to wait for over half a year for a decision, which can lead to serious financial hardship in many cases. It is imperative that the state provides supports responsive to the needs of its citizens and the efficient processing of applications for these supports is crucial.

“I will continue to monitor progress on the implementation of the Department’s efforts to reduce the waiting times and will raise the matter with the Minister again if progress is not being achieved

Question No:   104 Ref No: 41025-12

To the Minister for Social Protection

To ask the Minister for Social Protection her plans to address the current delays (details supplied) in carer’s allowance applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– Brendan Griffin.

They are currently processing applications that were submitted in November and December 2011

*    For WRITTEN answer

R E P L Y

Minister for Social Protection (Joan Burton T.D):

The Department is committed to delivering the best possible service to its customers. Currently the average time taken to award a carer’s allowance application is 28 weeks.

I acknowledge that the time taken to process carer’s allowance claims at present is not satisfactory but I am satisfied that the Department is taking appropriate action to resolve the situation.

Carer’s allowance section has recently completed a major service delivery modernisation project to improve the efficiency with which it processes applications from clients for carer’s allowance. The project involved the development of IT functionality and associated business process re-organisation.  Full deployment of the new system for Carer’s Allowance was completed in June 2012.

Following the completion of the modernisation project, an in-depth business process improvement (BPI) project commenced for the carer’s allowance scheme.  This project focused on optimising output and customer service and the reduction of backlogs. The outcome of the review is the division of work into two streams. One concentrates on dealing with new claim intake and processes these without delay and the other on the backlog which is ring-fenced with a clear and targeted plan for its elimination.  Implementation of the plan commenced on Monday 3 September and will be closely monitored and managed to ensure it achieves its objectives. However, it will take a number of months before the backlog is reduced to an acceptable level. The allocation of available resources to this task continues to be monitored.

ENDS

 

 

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