Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Department of Social Protection
Asylum Support Services
334. To ask the Minister for Social Protection the legislative basis for payments to asylum seekers in direct provision accommodation; the effect on these payments, if any, of the Social Welfare and Pensions (No.2) Act 2009 which precludes asylum seekers from being granted habitual residency status; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20353/13]
336. To ask the Minister for Social Protection the legislative grounding for her Departments funding of payments made to asylum seekers in direct provision centres; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20361/13]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 334and 336 together.
Since April 2000 the needs of asylum seekers are catered for under the direct provision system operated by the Reception and Integration Agency of the Department of Justice and Equality. Under the system asylum seekers are provided with full board accommodation and other facilities such as laundry services and access to leisure areas. To take account of the services provided, a direct provision allowance of €19.10 per adult per week and €9.60 per child per week is payable in respect of any personal requisites required.
Following the introduction of the statutory habitual residence condition in May 2004 and subsequent legislation, asylum seekers are not entitled to receive most social welfare payments. The payment of the weekly direct provision allowance is made on an administrative basis by this Department on behalf of the Department of Justice and Equality.
It continues to be open to any asylum seeker to seek assistance for a particular once-off need by way of an exceptional needs payment under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme as contained in Section 201 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005. There is no automatic entitlement to an exceptional needs payment as each application is determined based on the particular circumstances of the case.