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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Social Protection

Government criticised over huge number of disabilities payments denied, only to be allowed upon appeal

Last year 58% of applications for disability allowance were allowed after they were appealed.

THE DEPARTMENT OF Social Protection is being criticised over the large number of people with disabilities are who denied payments, only to be allowed upon appeal.

Development manager with the Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI), Joan O’Donnell said, “Desk reviews are being used to make subjective decisions about people’s lives.”

Over half of all social welfare payment applications for disability allowance, invalidity pension and domiciliary care allowance are being allowed after they are appealed.

This is at odds with other schemes such as jobseekers allowance and welfare allowance where a small percentage of applications are allowed on appeal and the vast majority stay disallowed.

Figures from the Department of Social Protection show that over the past two years, and so far this year, a huge percentage of applications are allowed when appealed.

Of the 4,912 appeals for disability allowance last year, 58% were allowed. Meanwhile 50% of the 1,362 appeals for invalidity pensions and 1,198 appeals for domiciliary care allowance were allowed in 2016.

DFI development manager, Joan O’Donnell told

It points to an unnecessary and ineffective system that leads to lengthy delays and stress for applicants. People with disabilities have a right to social protection under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Person’s with Disabilities.

“It is also costly to do business this way for the department, and it is the view of DFI that there must be a more effective and humane way to do business that respects those rights.”

In a statement the Department of Social Protection said, “In general, illness/disability/caring schemes have a higher success rate on appeal than other schemes.

“This is because the conditionality for these schemes is more subjective in nature than other schemes where the question at issue is PRSI contribution conditions or a means test (e.g. in Disability Allowance where the question at issue is whether customer is substantially restricted from undertaking suitable employment /or in Domiciliary Care Allowance where the question is whether a child requires care and attention substantially in excess of that required by a child of a similar age without a disability etc.)

It is also often the case that in these schemes additional medical evidence is required as part of the appeal process, or the Appeals Officer has the benefit of meeting the appellant in person and seeing first-hand the impact of the medical condition or the associated care requirements.

However O’Donnell said, “There is clearly a systemic problem when so many people who need and are entitled to social protection by the state continue to get turned down.

I recognise that there must be a right to appeal but it would be better for everyone if the decision making process was more effective.


Overall from 2015 to 31 March 2017, of the 12,791 appeals received for disability allowance 52% (6,671) were allowed and only 26% (3,411) were disallowed.


The same is true for invalidity pension allowance where 53% (1,921) of the 3,604 appeals were allowed over the same time period and only 22% (801) were disallowed.

Of the 2,729 appeals for domiciliary care allowance, 47% were allowed and just 19% were disallowed.


Read: Three year campaign results in 33,000 children with disabilities getting full medical cards>

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