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Delays in carers allowance

Delays in payment of the carers allowance were raised in the Dail by Kevin Humphreys (Lab, Dublin SE) (Dail Eireann, Debates, 15th February 2012, 733-4).  The average waiting time for a claim was now 17 weeks and longer for an appeal, which was causing a real difficulty on the ground for the most vulnerable people.  Almost 10,000 people were now waiting for decisions to be made.  Responding, the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton told him that 52,000 people now received the allowance and 22,000 the half rate.  A new processing system had been introduced in August 2011 and all claims would be transferred to the new system by June.   7,678 decisions were now awaited, down from 8,540 last September.  She acknowledged that the processing time was not satisfactory and overtime working was applied to reduce backlogs, which would take several months.  People could apply for supplementary welfare allowance in the meantime.  There had been an increase in the volume of applications and their complexity, but she was confident there would be a significant improvement by June.