A person can make an appeal within 21 working days of receiving the decision of the Deciding Officer (about a payment of social welfare benefit or assistance, or insurability of employment) or the determination of the Designated Person (about a payment under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme). The notification of the decision/determination on their entitlement will also advise of a right to appeal the decision.
A person can make an appeal by completing Form SWAO 1 which is available from local Intreo Centres or by downloading the form from the ‘Your Appeal’ area on this website: www.socialwelfareappeals.ie.
Alternatively, the grounds of an appeal may be set out in a letter or by email to: email@example.com.
The important thing is that the grounds of appeal are set out in full. An appeal may be sent directly to the Chief Appeals Officer at the address below or through any local Intreo Centre.
Chief Appeals Officer
Social Welfare Appeals Office
Appellants should state their name, address and Personal Public Service (PPS) number and enclose:
• a copy of the decision/determination which is being appealed,
• a statement of the reasons why they are dissatisfied with the Department’s decision, and
• any relevant evidence that they think may support the appeal.
If any information or copies of documents that the Department used in making the decision is needed, the relevant scheme area of the Department of Social Protection should be contacted as early as possible to request a copy of the file (or relevant documents from the file) for the purposes of preparing the appeal.
Appellants should ensure that appeals are submitted within the 21 working day statutory timeframe – even if they are awaiting some supporting evidence (e.g. medical reports from a doctor) at that stage. They may indicate, in doing so, that they intend to send further supporting evidence when it becomes available.
The timeframe for submitting an appeal is within 21 working days from the date of the decision of the Deciding Officer or Designated Person. Failure to appeal within this timeframe may result in your appeal not being accepted. For this reason you should register your appeal as quickly as possible and at a minimum within the 21 day timeframe – even if you need to take some additional time to gather your supporting evidence or to seek advice from an advocate in finalising your appeal contentions. You can indicate in submitting your appeal that you intend to send further evidence in support of your appeal in the near future.
Can the period of 21 days be extended?
Clearly the legislature envisaged a short time-frame for submitting an appeal and this is for a very good reason – the experience of the Chief Appeals Officer is that issues under appeal become more complicated with the passage of time.
While the time-frame is short, the Chief Appeals Officer has discretion to accept an appeal after the expiration of the 21 working days provided for in legislation. The Chief Appeals Officer is not in favour of denying a person a right of appeal but must also respect that the legislature set down a specific time-frame within which to make an appeal. There are no criteria set down in the legislation as to how that . Discretion can be applied and the decision to accept or reject an appeal will largely depend on the circumstances of each individual case. In order for the Chief Appeals Officer to accept an appeal outside that time-frame, the Chief Appeals Officer needs to know why an appeal was not submitted within the 21 working days. While it is easier to accept an appeal within a short period of time after the expiration of the 21 days provided for in legislation, it becomes more difficult to do so when a long period of time has elapsed.