The Department serves a wide and diverse group of clients including families, people in employment, unemployed people, people with disabilities, carers and pensioners.
The Department also provides a range of services to employers who are an important client group both in their own right and as ‘partners’ in the provision of employment opportunities to unemployed people. In delivering services to these clients, the Department administers over 70 separate schemes and services which impact on the lives of almost every person in the State. Services include:
- A wide range of social insurance and social assistance income support schemes for children, people of working age, carers, people with disabilities and pensioners, with payments such as child benefit, jobseekers payments, illness benefits payments and pensions;
- Employment support, guidance and placement services to help clients find and secure employment;
- A range of community services to promote social inclusion and provide a pathway to employment for people who are unemployed or otherwise at risk of poverty;
- Employer services including recruitment services, online vacancy publication, employment supports (e.g. wage subsidy scheme for people with disabilities) and redundancy and insolvency services;
- A range of services related to the administration of, and ensuring compliance with, the social insurance scheme;
- The provision of social welfare information, directly and through the Citizens Information Board (CIB) which also provides advocacy services for people with disabilities through the National Advocacy Service;
- The provision of budgeting and money management advice through the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) which operates under the auspices of the Citizens Information Board;
- The regulation of occupational and private pensions through the Pensions Board;
- The investigation of complaints of maladministration of pension schemes through the independent Office of the Pensions Ombudsman;
- The provision of an independent redress system through the Social Welfare Appeals Office;
- Adjudication by the Social Welfare Tribunal on cases where entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit or Jobseeker's Allowance is refused due to an involvement in a trade dispute;
- The administration of the Civil Registration Service (for the registration of births, adoptions, marriages, civil partnerships and deaths in the State) by the General Register Office (GRO).
Each week, over 1.4 million people receive a social welfare payment and, when qualified adults and children are included, over 2.2 million people benefit from weekly payments.
Some 600,000 families receive child benefit payments in respect of over 1.1 million children each month.
The total expenditure by the Department in 2011 was €21 billion (prov). The day to day activities of the Department in that year included:
- 2.2 million applications processed;
- 87.6 million scheme payments made;
- 982,000 control reviews;
- 6.8 million telephone calls answered;
- 34,000 social welfare appeals finalised;
- 153,000 PPS numbers allocated.