Written answers

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Exceptional Needs Payments

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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1162. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the amount of expenditure incurred each year since 2008 on exceptional needs payments; the reason for the decline in these payments; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3323/20]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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Under the supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) scheme, the Department may make a single exceptional needs payment (ENP) to help meet essential, once-off expenditure which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income.  An urgent needs payment (UNP) may be made to persons who may not normally qualify for SWA but who have an urgent need which they cannot meet from their own resources or where an alternative is not available at that time. 

The tabular statement below shows the number of payments and expenditure on ENPs and UNPs each year since 2008. Expenditure under these schemes has increased each year since 2016.

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 legislation and all the relevant circumstances of the case in order to ensure that the payments target those most in need of assistance.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Tabular Statement  

Number of payments / expenditure on ENPs and UNPs, 2008 – 2019

Year  Expenditure
2008 €82.2m
2009 €75.2m
2010 €69.4m
2011 €62.6m
2012 €52.7m
2013 €35.7m
2014 €30.1m
2015 €31.0m
2016 €32.2m
2017 €38.1m
2018 €42.3m
2019 €43.2m (Provisional)
2020 €44.2m (Estimate)


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