Rent supplement is available to provide short-term income support to eligible people 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 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 the scheme for which the Government has provided a sum of €436 million in 2012.
Under the supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) scheme, an exceptional needs payment (ENP) may be made to help meet an essential once-off cost, such as a payment of a rent deposit, which the applicant is unable to meet out of his/her own resources.
There is no automatic entitlement to this payment and each application is determined by the person administering the scheme based on the particular circumstances of the case, taking account of the nature and extent of the need. Such payments are confined to occurrences which the officer considers to be unexpected, unforeseen or exceptional.
Multiple rent deposits are not generally paid to the same person and every effort is made to ensure that only one payment is made. If the landlord or tenant terminates the tenancy the tenant can use the returned deposit to secure a new tenancy.