Agency explains how social welfare panel will work on appeals


14-February-2012

People who apply for help sometimes are not happy with the ASP’s decisions and previously it was not clear where and how they should channel their complaints, said Miss Ah-Kong, who is preparing an in-depth feature to be published this weekend, which outlines how the newly created body will work.

She said an aggrieved person should outline what he or she does not agree in the agency’s decision and put together all the documents needed to prove their case.

“The person should then get an appeal form from his or her district administration (DA) office, then complete it.

“All the facts and documentary evidence should be returned to the agency’s representative at the DA’s office, where the person will be asked whether or not he or she would like to attend the sitting of the appeals committee when the case is being discussed,” she said.

She said once a letter confirming the appeal has been received, it will be sent to the applicant, after which the committee will investigate the case and give a report to the secretary of the review panel for a decision.

“Based on the findings, the committee can reject, accept the appeal or refer it for further checks by the investigation unit of the agency.

“This unit will be given time to report findings to the appeals committee for review,” she said, adding that a registered letter will be sent to the complainant telling him or her whether the appeal has been rejected or accepted or if it has been referred to the investigations unit, clearly stating the reasons for decision taken.

Miss Ah-Kong said the process will be thorough and fair, and the decisions of the appeals committee will be final.

After each sitting, the secretary of the review panel will make a report and give it to the ASP’s chief executive.

The agency was created following a merger between the Social Security Fund and the Social Welfare Agency under the Agency for Social Protection Act 2011, and came into operation on January 1, 2012.

Miss Ah-Kong said the panel can review maternity, survivor, funeral, retirement, dependant, orphan, abandoned child, as well as supplementary income allowance benefits.

Those who wish to appeal against the ASP’s decision should ensure their appeals reach the agency’s review panel office within 14 days after a decision has been made although late applications may be accepted with the approval of the chairperson of the review panel.

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