The Ombudsman investigates complaints from people who feel they have been unfairly treated by certain public service providers, including the Department of Social Protection and the Social Welfare Appeals Office.
Yes. The Ombudsman is independent of government. The Ombudsman deals with all complaints impartially when deciding whether the action or decision of the public service provider, such as the Department or the Appeals Office was fair or reasonable.
You can complain about any of the following:
Examples of statutory social welfare payments the Ombudsman may receive complaints about include:
We can investigate a complaint relating to social welfare payments governed by legislation and PRSI when:
The Social Welfare Appeals Office operates independently of the Department of Social Protection. The Appeals Office examines appeals about payments governed by legislation and Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI).
If we can investigate your complaint, we will ask you to give us all the information about it. We usually ask the public service provider to send us information about the issues involved. It can take time to gather the information that we need before we can make a decision on your complaint.
We will then decide whether:
We may then recommend that the Department or Appeals Office:
No. The Ombudsman cannot investigate:
You can refer complaints relating to private or occupational pensions to the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman at www.fspo.ie
If you are unsure whether we can examine your complaint, contact us and we will let you know.
Before you complain to the Ombudsman, you must first complain to the Department of Social Protection.
You must have already appealed the decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office if your complaint is about:
You must have asked for a review or taken your complaint to the Department’s internal complaints system if your complaint is about:
If you are not happy with the outcome you can then contact the Ombudsman. Please remember to include any letters or other correspondence between you and the Department or Social Protection Appeals Office.
Complain to the Ombudsman as soon as possible. You should complain within 12 months of the:
It will depend on your individual complaint. We will try to complete the examination of your case within three to six months. If your case is more complicated, it may take us longer. We will keep you informed as to what is happening with your complaint.
Nothing - there is no charge for the services of the Ombudsman.
The best way to make a complaint to the Ombudsman is on our website: www.ombudsman.ie.
You can also write to:
Yes, but only if you give them permission to do so.
If you want to complain on behalf of someone else, you must get their permission first.
If you have a disability and need help to use the services of the Ombudsman, our Access Officer can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (01) 639 5625.