Thursday, 17 November 2022
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Social Welfare Payments
The Exceptional Needs Payment (ENP) 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.
Applications for ENPs are made under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme administered by Designated Persons in the Community Welfare Service in the Department.
According to the records of my Department, the person concerned applied for an ENP for assistance with several outstanding bills. The claim was assessed, and the person was awarded €300 which was paid to his nominated bank account on 25/10/2022.
Determinations made in relation to claims made under Sections 200, 201 and 202 of the Social Welfare (Consolidation Act) 2005, namely allowances-in-kind, ENPs and UNPs, can be reviewed by a SWA Reviewing Officer under Section 323 of that Act.
The person subsequently requested a review of the Designated Person’s decision. A SWA Reviewing Officer reviewed the person’s application and having considered all aspects of the case, recommended that a further contribution of €500 be awarded. The person was advised of the outcome of the review in writing on 11/11/2022. The award of €500 will be available in the person’s nominated bank account on 17/11/2022.
I trust this clarifies the matter.
231. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason that citizens who are relying on illness benefit are not entitled to the cost-of-living bonuses that were announced as part of the next Budget. [57149/22]
In response to the ongoing cost of living pressures, my Department will spend approximately €1.2 billion in social welfare measures during the coming months to help individuals and families through this difficult period.
One of these measures is the Autumn Cost of Living Double Payment which was paid to those schemes which are eligible to receive the Christmas Bonus.
Illness Benefit is not, and has never been, a qualifying payment for the Christmas Bonus. It is a scheme which, by its nature, is a short-term social welfare scheme. It has a high degree of churn with people coming onto the scheme and moving off every week, often with very short duration claims. For example, between July and September 2022, almost 115,000 Illness Benefit claims were awarded and, of these, only 21,000 remain in payment. This indicates a churn of 82% over just a three-month period. The average duration of a claim for Illness Benefit is only 6 days.
In addition, many Illness Benefit payments are paid directly to the employer. Therefore, a double payment such as the cost of living support would, in many cases, be an employer subsidy as opposed to an additional support to the customer. This is not the intent behind the October cost of living support, and nor would it be a targeted use of resources.
I do appreciate however that individual circumstances can vary from case to case. I have asked my officials to examine this issue in respect of people who are in receipt of Illness Benefit for longer periods of time.