Written Answers. - Social Welfare Appeals.

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

120 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs when a decision will be made on the appeal by a person (details supplied) in Dublin 7 on the decision refusing her rent allowance. [22141/99]

The supplementary welfare allowance, SWA, scheme provides for a weekly or monthly supplement to be paid in respect of rent to any person in the State whose means are insufficient to meet their needs.

The purpose of rent supplements is to assist with reasonable accommodation costs of eligible persons living in private rented accommodation who are unable to provide for their accommodation costs from their own resources and who do not have accommodation available to them from another source.

Rent supplements are normally calculated to ensure that the person, after the payment of rent has an income equal to the supplementary welfare allowance basic weekly payment rate, less £6. This £6 represents the minimum contribution which recipients are required to pay from their own resources.

Each health board is required to set reasonable maximum rent levels for various household types as a basis for calculating the maximum amount of rent supplement payable in each area under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme. The limits are set using local knowledge as to what constitutes a reasonable rent for private rented accommodation for various household types within and across the health board area.

The Eastern Health Board has advised that it disallowed an application for rent supplement from the person concerned as the cost of the accommodation she is sharing is above the maximum rent level set for the area. The person concerned has appealed this decision. The Eastern Health Board Appeals Officer has confirmed that a decision on the appeal will be given by the end of this week.