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Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Social Welfare Payments (17 May 2022)

Social Welfare Payments

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Social Welfare Payments (17 May 2022)

Christopher O'Sullivan: 77. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons who are applying for assistance with energy costs, including boiler repairs and replacements, under the exceptional needs payments scheme by applications, grants and refusals by county in tabular form. [24681/22]

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Social Welfare Payments (17 May 2022)

Catherine Connolly: I am going back to the question in the name of Deputy Christopher O'Sullivan. Unfortunately, the fact that Deputy Calleary was substituting for him did not filter up here. I cannot leave the desk so we have double-checked.

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Social Welfare Payments (17 May 2022)

Dara Calleary: For the record of the House, I received an email at 11.30 this morning confirming it.

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Social Welfare Payments (17 May 2022)

Catherine Connolly: I know that. It is no fault on the Deputy, but there is no fault on us either. It did not arrive up here.

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Social Welfare Payments (17 May 2022)

Dara Calleary: No problem. I wish to know the number of people who are looking for assistance with energy costs, including boiler repairs and replacements, either through the exceptional needs scheme or otherwise, to alleviate the major crisis that will affect households experiencing fuel poverty.

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Social Welfare Payments (17 May 2022)

Heather Humphreys: Under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme, my Department may make a single exceptional needs payment to help meet essential, once-off expenditure that a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of his or her weekly income. The scheme is demand-led and payments are made at the discretion of the officers administering the scheme, taking into account the requirements of the...

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Social Welfare Payments (17 May 2022)

Dara Calleary: The Minister is aware the major shock through the increase in energy costs is only beginning to happen. By the time we get to next winter, this will be a major crisis and not just an issue for many people. I acknowledge the €200 to help with electricity bills and I acknowledge the extra €125 paid this week to 371,000 household in receipt of fuel allowance. The restrictions on...

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Social Welfare Payments (17 May 2022)

Heather Humphreys: The exceptional needs payment and the urgent needs payment are available. They are their demand-led schemes, and if people run into difficulties, they are encouraged to apply for that payment. I have been trying to highlight it. We have introduced a number of measures to help alleviate some of the rising costs, as the Deputy has acknowledged. Nobody is excluded from applying for this...

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Social Welfare Payments (17 May 2022)

Dara Calleary: In my own name I have tabled a question about the availability of community welfare officers. I got some information last week that shows many people do not have access to a community welfare officer within their area. The service is being centralised. People do not have access to transport to get to the central service. It makes no sense to do what the banks are doing and tell people to...

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Social Welfare Payments (17 May 2022)

Catherine Connolly: Before the Minister responds, two more Deputies wish to speak.

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Social Welfare Payments (17 May 2022)

Claire Kerrane: I have said many times that it is totally unacceptable that statistics are not collected on the number of people who are refused exceptional needs payments. If we do not know how many apply for it and are refused, then we have a problem. We need the data. The Department collects data on many things and this should be one of them. I welcome what the Minister has said on collating...

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Social Welfare Payments (17 May 2022)

Jennifer Murnane O'Connor: I agree with the previous speakers. I am concerned that the figures the Minister has given for exceptional needs payments are extremely low. In my area I have met people who find it very hard to get that payment to purchase a boiler, fridge or washing machine. That needs to be looked at seriously. We all know that places were closed during the pandemic. Accessing welfare became a burden...

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Employment Schemes (17 May 2022)

Claire Kerrane: Statutory redundancy will be made available, as it is to most workers, albeit it will be limited. I am speaking about redundancy beyond the statutory redundancy because some of these workers have given 20, and in some cases, 25 years of dedication. During that time they have educated themselves and retrained and they are highly skilled workers who deserve better. The tender has gone ahead...

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Employment Schemes (17 May 2022)

Heather Humphreys: I do not have the figures for the four areas in phase 1 to hand but there had been engagement and in some of the instances the staff involved took up employment with the new contract providers. We are in phase 2 and the procurement phase is ongoing, as the Deputy knows. I am not the employer, nor is my Department. I cannot come in and promise enhanced redundancy terms for anybody because...

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Employment Schemes (17 May 2022)

Claire Kerrane: I mention the roughly 388 people who work in local employment services and job clubs. When a new provider like Turas Nua or Seetec Ireland comes in, some of those workers who have given 20 to 25 years of work to not-for-profit and community-based employment services will not want to take up a role in an organisation that is run for-profit, that provides payment by results and that is not...

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Employment Schemes (17 May 2022)

Heather Humphreys: We cannot jump the gun because there are no redundancies yet. We need to await the outcome of the procurement process. Some have said that the community and voluntary sector will be wiped out due to the procurement process but we should wait and see who wins it and, as I said, it is ongoing. All contracts are extended until the end of August, unless the companies have decided not to extend...

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Departmental Reports (17 May 2022)

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Departmental Reports (17 May 2022)

Gary Gannon: 79. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the date she expects to publish the child maintenance review group report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24645/22]

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions: Departmental Reports (17 May 2022)

Catherine Connolly: Glaoim ar an Teachta Gannon.

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