Thursday, 12 July 2012

Questions (59)

Michael McGrath


58 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he has any plans to establish an assistance fund for the victims of the recent flooding in Cork city and county; if he will provide details of the way that the fund will operate, the eligibility criteria for residents and businesses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34172/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

As Minister for Finance I do not have a role in this matter. However, I am in discussions with my Ministerial colleagues with a view to determining what reliefs could be made available. At present, assisting households in the immediate aftermath of flooding is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Social Protection.

The Department of Social Protection has two schemes in place that, subject to certain criteria being satisfied, can assist households who have been the victims of flooding. These schemes are called "Exceptional Needs Payments" and "Urgent Needs Payments".

Under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme, the Department of Social Protection can make a single payment to help meet essential, once off, exceptional expenditure, which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income. These payments are known as "Exceptional Needs Payments".

In addition to the payment of Exceptional Needs Payments, Supplementary Welfare Allowance legislation provides for assistance in the form of an urgent needs payment. In certain circumstances, this payment can be made to persons who would not normally be entitled to Supplementary Welfare Allowance. Examples of situations where such assistance may be provided would be in the aftermath of flooding or a domestic fire where the immediate needs, such as food, clothing fuel, household goods and perhaps shelter of the people affected may be met by an urgent needs payment in cash or in kind.