The Department of Social Protection's representatives (formerly known as Community Welfare Officers (CWOs)) are employed throughout Ireland by the Department of Social Protection. CWOs were previously employed by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
They are based in health centres or DSP offices and are responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme.
The Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme is funded and legislated for by the Department of Social Protection. The payments made under this scheme include: weekly Supplementary Welfare Allowance, Rent Supplement, Mortgage Interest Supplement, Diet and Heating Supplements, Back to School Clothing and Footwear Scheme and exceptional needs payments for items such as buggies, clothing, etc.
Department of Social Protection (DSP) staff are responsible for assessing the income of a person applying for payments under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme. This assessment may involve home visits to verify a person's place of residence for Rent Supplement purposes or simply to interview someone in surroundings that are more comfortable if he or she has special needs or is unable to visit his or her local health centre in person.
DSP staff will actively refer individuals to other state agencies and/or voluntary organisations if these are appropriate to the client's needs. For example, you may be referred to the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS).
DSP staff make decisions about applications under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme. While they make the decision, they may consult their immediate manager.
If you are unhappy with a decision made made by a DSP staff member, you may appeal the decision.
If your appeal concerns a payment of basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance, Mortgage or Rent Supplement, you have a right to have your appeal heard by the Social Welfare Appeals Office Discretionary payments such as Exceptional Needs Payments cannot be appealed to the Social Welfare Appeals Office but they can be reviewed by another staff member on request.
There is no charge for making an appeal against a decision of
DSP staff member. There is also no charge for appealing a decision
to the Office of the Ombudsman or to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.
You should contact the Department of Social Protection's representative (formerly the Community Welfare Officer) at your local health centre or DSP office.
Locall:1890 66 22 44
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.