Written answers

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Schemes

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry, Independent)
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89. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if there are plans to increase the telephone allowance (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46229/22]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The Telephone Support Allowance (TSA) is a weekly payment of €2.50. Approximately 138,000 customers are in receipt of the TSA payment. The full year cost of the scheme is estimated at €18.1 million.

The primary objective of the TSA is to allow the most vulnerable people at risk of isolation, including the elderly and those with disabilities, access to personal alarms or phones for security. Therefore, the criteria for the allowance were framed in order to direct the limited resources available to my Department in as targeted a manner as possible.

All proposals, including any proposals to increase the Telephone Support Allowance could only be considered while taking account of overall Government policy and in a budgetary context. The Government will finalise its consideration of the Budget in the coming days having regard to all of its commitments. The outcome of this process will be announced on Budget Day.

Finally, the Department of Social Protection provides Additional Needs Payments as part of the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme for people who have an urgent need, which they cannot meet from their own resources. These payments are available through our Community Welfare Officers.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

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