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Recruitment of new medical assessors by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) is due to begin soon, following a deferral in the process caused by the pandemic, Medical assessments are carried out by doctors in cases of illness benefit claims. There are currently 31 medical assessors working for the DEASP.
“The annual recruitment competition for the medical assessor panel, through the Public Appointment Service (PAS) was due to be held on 23 March,” the spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI) last month.
“This was deferred due to the Covid-19 pandemic and is now scheduled for August…The work of the medical assessors has been impacted like everyone by the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly the in-person assessment work.
“However, in the main all other medical assessors’ work has continued efficiently and effectively through re-assignment and re-allocation of duties. While some in-person assessment work has been deferred, illness benefit medical assessments recommenced on 8 June. Plans are being finalised to restart this work on other schemes in accordance with public health guidelines.”
The Department also provided MI with up-to-date figures for assessments carried out this year. There were 8,885 medical assessments carried out in 2019 and 2,886 in 2020 up to the end of May to determine a person’s continued eligibility for illness benefit, according to the DEASP figures.
Last year 1,099 medical assessments were carried out to determine a person’s eligibility for disability allowance, while there have been 2,254 similar assessments this year up to the end of May.
“The increase in medical assessments of disability allowance this year has resulted mainly from further medical evidence that was provided by customers in response to a review of their entitlement,” the spokesperson told MI. They added that during 2019 and 2020 (to date), a total of 233 disability allowance recipients were found to be no longer entitled to payment following a medical review and had their payment terminated.
“In 2019, 915 illness benefit payments were terminated based on a medical review. To date in 2020 the figure is 202,” said the spokesperson.