Social Welfare Appeals Office - An Introduction - SW 56

If you disagree with a decision of a Deciding Officer about your entitlements, you have a right to appeal to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.

What is the Social Welfare Appeals Office?

The Social Welfare Appeals Office operates independently of the Department of Social and Family Affairs. It is headed by a Chief Appeals Officer and has its own Appeals Officers who make the decisions.

The Appeals headquarters are at D'Olier House in Dublin and Appeals in the Dublin area are held there. Appeals Officers also visit other cities and large towns throughout the country to keep to a minimum the distance that you may have to travel for an appeal hearing.

How do I appeal?

If you are unhappy with a Deciding Officer's decision, you should appeal within 21 days of receiving it. In certain cases you may appeal outside of this period. You can appeal by completing a form which you can get from your local Social Welfare Office, or you may explain your appeal in a letter. The important thing is that you set out your case fully. The local Social Welfare Office will be happy to pass the form or letter on to the Chief Appeals Officer for you or you may send it direct to:

Chief Appeals Officer
Social Welfare Appeals Office
D'Olier House
D'Olier Street
Dublin 2

You can also include the Deciding Officer's written decision or a copy of it, if convenient. This may help the Appeals Officer in dealing with your appeal.

If you wish to obtain to obtain any information or documents that the Deciding Officer used in reaching the decision, contact the section of the Department of Social and Family Affairs that dealt with your application.

What happens next?

When we receive your form or letter of appeal, we will send you an acknowledgement. We must then pass it to the Department for theit comments on the points you make to support your case. The Department may change their decision at this stage because of any new evidence. If they don't change the decision, an Appeals Officer will consider your case.

The Appeals Officer may decide to hold an oral hearing of your appeal, and will invite you to attend. On the other hand, the Appeals Officer may be able to deal with your case on the basis of written evidence you provided. Either way, you will get a letter telling you the outcome of your appeal.

Why have an appeal hearing?

Do I have to pay anything to appeal?

No. You do not have to pay anything to make an appeal. If you have to travel to attend a hearing, the Appeals Office will compensate you for reasonable travel expenses. You can also be compensated for any loss of earnings if you have had to take any time off work to attend.

Must I have a Solicitor?

No, although you may be represented if you wish. The Appeals Officer may make an award to a representative, such as a solicitor, if you bring one to the hearing.

How will I get the decision?

You will get the Appeals Officer's decision in writing usually within three or four weeks if there has been a hearing. If your appeal is not successful the Appeals Officer will explain why.

Is the Appeals Officer's decision final?

The Appeals Officers decision is usually final. However, it may be changed:

You can also appeal the Appeal Officer's decision to the High Court, but only on a point of law.

Where can I get more Infomation?

For further information, contact:

Social Welfare Appeals Office
D'Olier House
D'Olier Street
Dublin 2
Telephone: Locall 1890 74 74 34
FAX Number: 01-6718391

This leaflet is intended as a guide only and does not purport to be a legal interpretation


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