Wednesday, 20 October 2004

Questions (130)

Joan Burton

Question:

232 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason the carer’s allowance is now being included for the purposes of rent assessment by local authorities; if it is the policy of his Department that the carer’s allowance be included for the purposes of rent assessment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25591/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Family)

The manner in which local authority tenants are assessed for rent is a matter for the various local authorities and my Department has no function in that regard.

My Department has a role regarding certain private sector tenants. The supplementary welfare allowance scheme, which is administered on behalf of my Department by the health boards, provides for the payment of rent supplement to eligible people residing in private rented accommodation whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available from any other source.

The regulations governing rent supplement stipulate that, in addition to a minimum contribution, currently €13, each recipient is required to contribute towards his or her rent any additional assessable means he or she has over and above the appropriate basic supplementary welfare allowance rate. The means test provides for a disregard of a portion of carer's allowance when assessing entitlement to rent supplement. In the case of a couple, where either spouse or partner is in receipt of carer's allowance, the amount disregarded is the rate of carer's allowance in payment less the adult dependant rate of supplementary welfare allowance. In the case of a single person or a lone parent the amount disregarded is the rate of carer's allowance in payment less the personal rate of supplementary welfare allowance.