Tuesday, 22 November 2016
Department of Social Protection
Direct Provision Payments
66. To ask the Minister for Social Protection when the recommendations in the June 2015 McMahon report that the direct provision weekly allowance for adults be increased to €38.74 and to €29.80 for children will be acted on. [35974/16]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 66 and 98 together.
A weekly direct provision allowance (DPA) is paid to asylum seekers who reside within the system of direct provision. DPA is administered by my Department’s Community Welfare Service (CWS) on an administrative basis on behalf of the Department of Justice and Equality at the weekly rate of €19.10 per adult and €15.60 per child.
The Report of the Working Group on the Protection Process recommended that the weekly rate of DPA should be increased to €38.74 for adults and €29.80 for children. The rates of DPA, similar to other recommendations of the Working Group, are subject to further consideration by the Cabinet Committee on Social Policy and Public Service Reform. Consideration must be taken of the overall cost of the recommendation, its impact on asylum policy, the direct provision system and the level of disposable income available to social welfare recipients and those in low income employment.
It was considered that there was an urgency to provide for some level of immediate increase in respect of children and accordingly, the Government increased the child rate of DPA from €9.60 to €15.60 in January 2016.
My Department provides Exceptional Needs Payments (ENPs) to people in the direct provision system which are largely made towards clothing costs, transport costs and the purchase of child related items. ENPs are also paid to support the transition from direct provision including assistance towards rent deposits. Some 14,900 ENPs have been paid in 2016 to people in direct provision with expenditure of €1.2 million.
The back to school clothing and footwear allowance scheme (BSCFA) provides once-off assistance towards the cost of returning to school in September. In 2016, some 430 families living in direct provision received BSCFA at a cost of €92,000.
Following a recommendation in the Report of the Working Group a task force was established to examine the mechanisms and supports for the transitioning of people from the Direct Provision system. An output from this group was the ongoing roll out of an information programme and an information booklet for people transitioning from direct provision attended by representatives from relevant Departments and Agencies, including my Department.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.