Thursday, 18 February 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Exceptional Needs Payment
195. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if bills relating to digital costs or necessary one-off purchases of digital devices can be supported under the exceptional needs payments; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9008/21]
Under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme, my Department may make an exceptional needs payment to help meet essential, once-off expenditure which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income. The exceptional needs payment 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.
As part of the response to Covid 19, the Government has put in place a range of measures, including supports for schools and third level institutions to assist students to engage with remote learning. When considering an application for support with costs of a digital device, the officer will take into account other State supports that may be available where this is appropriate.
Any person who considers they may have an entitlement to an exceptional needs payment should contact the Community Welfare Service at their local INTREO centre. There is a national Income Support Helpline in place (1890 800 024) which will assist callers to make contact with the appropriate office.
If the Deputy has concerns about a particular case, I would ask him to bring it to the attention of my Department.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.