Dáil debates

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions

Social Welfare Eligibility

8:30 pm

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

Given that we have the exceptional needs payment as well as the urgent needs payment, we should be calling this just the needs payment. It does not matter how much someone works - if he or she has an urgent need, he or she can approach a community welfare officer and ask for assistance. The rule on 30 hours working is not stopping people from getting support. There are two strands - essential needs and urgent needs. The rule is not depriving people of support. The urgent needs payment has no cap. It is demand led and we have spent €42 million on it per annum in recent years. If more is needed, we will provide it. In recent weeks, we announced a package of support measures worth €1 billion to assist with energy costs.

The Deputy will agree, given that I am sure it is also her experience of dealing with community welfare officers, that if someone has a genuine need, officers look at matters in a sensible and practical way. We have told them to apply discretion. They have that discretion. I do not want to see a situation in this country where someone is in dire straits and needs help but does not get it. People will get it, and we are here to give them that help.


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