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. We have been promoting both the exceptional needs payment and the urgent needs payment as part of the supplementary welfare allowance on our social media. I have asked my officials to ensure people are aware of that. The one thing we do not want it is for people to be in difficulty and not realise they can access these payments. The Department of the Social Protection is here to help, not to put barriers in people's way. One only has to look at what was done during the pandemic and how we are responding to the Ukrainian crisis. Helping people is exactly what we want to do.

On energy costs, the Government absolutely recognises the impact rising energy prices are having for people. That is why we have acted to try to assist families. We have brought forward a series of measures that cost over €1 billion to help ease the burden on people. We increased the fuel allowance payment to €33 per week. That was effective from budget night. Last week we issued a €125 top-up payment to all those in receipt of the fuel allowance. When this is coupled with the €5 per week increase in the fuel allowance that commenced last October, it represents a 41% increase in fuel allowance supports over last year. When you add in the €200 electricity credit, that brings it up to a 60% increase over this time last year.


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