Social Welfare Appeals Office

If you think that you have been wrongly refused a social welfare benefit in Ireland, or you are unhappy about a decision of a Social Welfare Deciding Officer about your entitlements, you can appeal this decision. The Social Welfare Appeals Office operates independently of the Department of Social and Family Affairs.The Social Welfare Appeals Office also deals with appeals for some payments under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme. However, it does not deal with the discretionary elements of the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme.You can get a list of social welfare schemes and benefits covered by the Social Welfare Appeals Office.

Appeals procedure

Make your application on the special form available from your local social welfare officer, or you can set out the grounds of your appeal in a letter addressed to the Appeals Office. (Read more information about how to make an appeal under the “How to apply” section below). When your appeal is received by the Appeals Office, an acknowledgement will be sent to you. Your case must then be referred back to the Department of Social and Family Affairs for their comments. At this stage, the Department of Social and Family Affairs may revise their decision as a result of new evidence presented. If however their decision remains unchanged, your case will be considered by an Appeals Officer.The Appeals Office may decide your appeal on the basis of written evidence. In other situations, the Appeals Officer may hold an oral hearing of your appeal and you will be invited to attend this hearing. This hearing is held on an informal basis. In attendance at the appeal hearing is the Appeals Officer, you and any representative you choose to bring along. A representative may include a friend, colleague, public representative or trade union official. You are also free to bring legal representation if you wish – but this is not a requirement. Hearings are held in private.

If you don’t agree with the Appeals Officer’s decision

If you disagree with a decision of a Deciding Officer regarding your entitlements you should appeal within 21 days of the decision. In exceptional cases, appeals received outside of this period may be accepted. Generally, the decision of an appeals officer is final. However, an Appeals Officer may revise his or her decision if new evidence, new facts or any relevant change of circumstances come to light after a decision is made.The Chief Appeals Officer may revise a decision of an Appeals Officer if it appears that a mistake was made in relation to the law or the facts. In either case you should send a written request for a revised decision. It is important to state the grounds on which you are seeking a revised decision.If you disagree with the final decision of the Social Welfare Appeals Office you can request the Office of the Ombudsman to examine your case. The Ombudsman has the right to consider the fairness of any decision made by the Social Welfare Appeals Office.You may appeal to the High Court on a point of law or seek a judicial review in the High Court if you consider that the appeal was not fairly conducted. (You should however obtain legal advice in this situation).

Non-statutory social welfare schemes

The Social Welfare Appeals Office does not deal with schemes that are not on a statutory basis – for example, the free schemes and the back to work schemes. There is no formal appeals system for these schemes but if you are not satisfied, you should ask for the decision to be reviewed.

Social Welfare Tribunal

This is also a statutory appeals system. It provides a second level of appeal (after the normal appeal) for those who are refused an unemployment payment because of an industrial dispute at their place of employment.


There is no fee to make an appeal about a social welfare decision. If you have to travel to attend a hearing, the Appeals Office will compensate you for any reasonable travel expenses. You can also be compensated for any loss of earnings if you have to take time off work to attend. The Appeals Office may make an award to a representative such as solicitor if they accompany you to the appeal.

How to apply

Make your application on the special social welfare appeals form, also available from your local social welfare office, or you can set out the grounds of your appeal in a letter addressed to the Appeals Office. In your appeal, you must include the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your Personal Public Service Number
  • The type of payment you are claiming
  • The decision you are appealing against
  • The reasons why you disagree with the decision that has been made
Where to apply

Social Welfare Appeals Office

D’Olier House/D’Olier Street,

Dublin Ireland

Tel: +353 (0)1 6732800

Local: 1890 747434

Fax:+353 (0)1 6718391


Social Welfare Tribunal

Floor 2 Landen House

Townsend Street, Dublin 2, Ireland

Tel: +353 (0) 1 6732247

Fax: +353 (0) 1 6732285 

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