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10 per cent increase in welfare medical assessments in 2015

The figure represents a more than 10 per cent increase on the 2014 figure. The DSP also told the Medical Independent (MI) that 2015 saw an increase in illness benefit payments being discontinued.

Medical assessment may be carried out to determine an individual’s continued eligibility to illness benefit or disability allowance.

“In 2014, 91,918 medical assessments took place, while 103,603 medical assessments took place in 2015,” a DSP spokesperson told MI.

“Following a medical review, 89 disability allowance payments were terminated in 2014 and 66 disability allowance payments were terminated in 2015.

The spokesperson added that “2,542 illness benefit payments were discontinued in 2014 following a medical review and 2,777 illness benefit payments were discontinued in 2015.” The spokesperson also said a decision “on the appointment of medical assessors through agencies is still expected to be [in] the Summer”.

Since late 2013, the DSP has been considering the hiring of a private agency to provide more medical assessors.

In September last year, then Tánaiste Joan Burton told the Dáil that there were  25 medical assessors working in the Department. Medical assessors are qualified doctors whose role is to assess fitness for work and/or the degree of disability.

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