The purpose of rent supplement is to provide short-term 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 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 currently approximately 86,000 rent supplement recipients for which the Government has provided over €403 million for 2013.
A person who claims a one-parent family payment is required to seek maintenance from her/his spouse or the other parent of the child. Maintenance payments are assessed as means for the purpose of determining entitlement to one-parent family payment. However, vouched housing costs of up to €95.23 per week in respect of rent or mortgage are disregarded in establishing the rate of one-parent family payment payable.
For rent supplement, maintenance payments of up to €95.23 per week are assessed in determining the appropriate rate payable. Where a person has weekly maintenance payments of more than €95.23, the first €75 a week together with 25% of any additional maintenance above €75 can be disregarded for means assessment purposes. This ensures that the family benefits from any maintenance payments received in excess of €95.23.
The treatment of maintenance payments when assessing an entitlement to rent supplement is contained in the Third Schedule, Part 4 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005.