Written Answers. - Asylum Seekers.

Frances Fitzgerald

Question:

786 Ms Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the total income maintenance currently given to asylum seekers per month in the year 2000; and the total to refugees per month in the year 2000. [20427/00]

Refugees receive income maintenance payments on the same basis as Irish citizens. For example, a single unemployed refugee receives £76 unemployment assistance for the first 12 months of unemployment and £77.50 per week thereafter.

The income maintenance needs of asylum seekers are met for the most part by health boards who administer the supplementary welfare allowance scheme on behalf of my Department. The SWA scheme provides entitlement to any person in the State whose means are insufficient to meet their needs.

Where a person has access to some resources either in cash or in kind this is taken into account in determining entitlement to SWA. This occurs in the case of asylum seekers who are being provided with full board accommodation under the direct provision system operated by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

Where a person in full board accommodation receives all meals and has access to other facilities such as laundry and leisure areas the recommended weekly allowance is £15 per adult and £7.50 per child. Furthermore, as is the case with all persons who are resident in the State where there are other reasonable expenses, exceptional needs payments will be made by the health board.

Asylum seekers who have not been provided with full board accommodation and who have no other means qualify for the full standard rate of weekly SWA. This amounts to £76 per week for a single adult, £123 per week for a couple and £13.20 per week for a dependent child. Asylum seekers who arrived in the State prior to the introduction of direct provision and who live in private rented accommodation qualify for rent supplement on the same basis as other recipients. For example, a single person living in Dublin can receive up to £64 per week towards rent, while a family can receive up to £179 per week, depending on the number of people in the family.
Asylum seekers and refugees are also entitled to claim child benefit. The monthly rate is £42.50 for the first and second child increasing to £56 for third and subsequent children. They may also make an application for a one parent family payment and old age non-contributory pension if they satisfy the necessary conditions.

Frances Fitzgerald

Question:

787 Ms Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the total amount paid under the rent allowance scheme in 1999 and to date in 2000. [20428/00]

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

Expenditure on rent supplements in 1999 was £101 million. Expenditure to the end of August 2000 was £77.5 million.

Question No. 788 taken with Question No. 109.

Question No. 789 taken with Question No. 116.