The purpose of rent supplement is to provide short-term income support to eligible tenants living in private rented accommodation whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source. The overall aim is to provide short term assistance, and not to act as an alternative to the other social housing schemes operated by the Exchequer. There are approximately 92,000 persons in receipt of rent supplement for which the Government has provided a sum of €436 million for 2012.
At the time of application for a rent supplement, the claimant must:
have been residing in private rented accommodation (where at the commencement of the tenancy the person could have reasonably afforded the rent and has experienced a substantial change in his or her circumstances where they are now unable to pay the rent) or accommodation for homeless persons or in an institution (or any combination of these) for a period of 183 days within the preceding 12 months of the date of claim for rent supplement, or
have had an assessment of housing need carried out within the 12 months preceding the date of claim and have been deemed to be eligible for and in need of social housing support.
In all other cases, a person who wishes to apply for rent supplement will be referred, in the first instance, for an assessment of eligibility for social housing support by a housing authority. Only when the person has been assessed as being eligible for and in need of social housing support, does the person become eligible for consideration for rent supplement.