Under the supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) scheme, the Department may make a single exceptional needs payment (ENP) to help meet essential, once-off and unforeseen expenditure which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income. The Government has provided €31.3 million for the ENP scheme in 2014.
There is no automatic entitlement to a payment. ENP’s are payable at the discretion of the officers administering the scheme taking into account the requirements of the legislation and all the relevant circumstances of the case in order to ensure that the payments target those most in need of assistance.
The ENP scheme is not intended to cover circumstances where responsibility for the payment or the expenditure rests with another Government Department or Agency such as assistance towards educational equipment. Responsibility for the provision of the necessary educational equipment is a matter for the Department of Education and Skills.