Dáil debates

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions

Social Welfare Eligibility

8:20 pm

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Deputy for raising this. To provide support for those facing challenges with the cost of living, the Government brought in a package of tax and social welfare measures worth over €1 billion last October in budget 2022. This was the largest social welfare package in 14 years. Last month, the Government agreed a further package of €505 million, including the €200 energy credit and a lump sum payment of €125 for those in receipt of the fuel allowance.

The supplementary welfare allowance is a demand-led scheme acting as a safety net within the overall social welfare system to help eligible people in the State whose means are insufficient to meet their needs and those of their dependents. The 30-hour rule regarding exceptional needs payments reflects the fact exceptional needs payments are primarily aimed at those who have limited income from employment. Those working at or above the 30-hour limit will have earnings above the basic supplementary welfare level of payment or may also be entitled to other in-work supports from my Department.

Where someone works above the 30-hour limit, the urgent needs payment is more appropriate, as it is not limited to those working less than full-time hours. As with the exceptional needs payment, urgent needs payments can be made on a flexible basis, taking into account all the relevant circumstances. Payments are made at the discretion of the officers administering the scheme, taking into account the requirements of the legislation and all the relevant circumstances of the case in order to ensure that the payments target those most in need of assistance. I encourage any person who considers that he or she may have an entitlement to an exceptional or urgent needs payment to contact the community welfare service at his or her local Intreo centre. There is a national income support helpline in place. It is available at 0818-800024. This will direct callers to the appropriate office.


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