The Social Welfare Appeals Office
Description and Functions
The Social Welfare Appeals Office operates independently of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
It is charged with determining appeals by persons who are dissatisfied with decisions made by Deciding Officers or Designated Persons of the Department on questions relating to entitlement to social welfare payments and insurability of employment under the Social Welfare Acts.
The statutory basis for the appeals process is contained in Part 10 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 and in Regulations made under provisions of that legislation.
Please click here for a list of the matters within the jurisdiction of the appeals process.
Further general information on the appeals process is to be found in the leaflets produced by the Office and in the annual reports by the Chief appeals Officer to the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
The mission of the Social Welfare Appeals Office is to provide an independent, accessible and fair appeals service for entitlement to social welfare payments and to deliver that service in a prompt and courteous manner.
In seeking to fulfil that role the Office places particular value on a high level of customer service and efficient administration.
The Office is headed by the Chief Appeals Officer who, as Director of the Office, has overall responsibility for the administration of the appeals service.
There is also a Deputy Chief Appeals Officer and an Office Manager who is responsible for administrative operations.
The Chief Appeals Officer, Deputy Chief Appeals Officer and Appeals Officers are appointed by the Minister for Social Protection in accordance with statutory provisions.
Organisation chart of the Office
The Social Welfare Appeals Office is based in D'Olier House, D'Olier Street, Dublin 2.
The Office has two distinct facets which combine to provide the appeals process the statutory determining function of the Appeals Officers and the administrative procedures which support the exercise of that function.
Appeals Officers are administrative tribunals exercising their functions in a quasi-judicial manner.
The Supreme Court [McLoughlin v. Minister for Social Welfare, (1958) I.R.5] has ruled that the duty of an Appeals Officer
"is laid upon him by the Oireachtas and he is required to perform it as between the parties that appear before him freely and fairly as becomes anyone who is called upon to decide on matters of right or obligation".
In that same judgement the Court also ruled that Appeals Officers
"are, ...and are required to be, free and unrestricted in discharging their functions under the Act".
The administrative arm of the Office provides the ancillary administrative services for appellants and other persons involved in the appeals system.
A computer system (containing limited identifying personal details) is used to keep track of appeals through the various stages of the appeals process.
Delivery of service
As mentioned above, the Office is concerned with the processing of appeals against decisions made by Deciding Officers/Designated Persons of the Department.
Every person who receives such an adverse decision is advised as a matter of course in the notification of the decision of the right of appeal.
Click here for a fuller description of the procedures, statutory and otherwise, involved in the appeals process.