Thursday, 22 April 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
58. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he will consider those on a temporary pandemic unemployment payment in terms of eligibility for social housing support (details supplied). [20977/21]
It is open to anyone to apply for social housing support, applications for which are assessed by the relevant local authority, in accordance with the eligibility and need criteria set down in section 20 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and the associated Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011, as amended.
The 2011 Regulations prescribe maximum net income limits for each local authority, in different bands according to the area concerned, with income being defined and assessed according to a standard Household Means Policy. The 2011 Regulations do not provide local authorities with any discretion to exceed the limits that apply to their administrative areas.
Under the Household Means Policy (HMP), which applies in all local authorities, net income for social housing assessment is defined as gross household income less income tax, PRSI, Universal Social Charge and Additional Superannuation Contribution. The Policy provides for a range of income disregards, and local authorities also have discretion to decide to disregard income that is temporary, short-term or once-off in nature
Social housing support is intended to address a household’s long-term housing need and it is therefore important to note that where households are in need of short term support, such as Rent Supplement, they should make application to the Department of Social Protection.
In relation to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), Circular 38/2020 regarding the treatment of the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) when assessing and/or reviewing income eligibility for social housing support was issued to local authorities. The Circular advises that the PUP payment should be considered as temporary in the overall context of an applicant household's income.
Decisions on the qualification of specific persons for social housing support and the allocation of that support are a matter solely for the local authority concerned.