Thursday, 30 May 2019

Questions (154)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

154. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of exceptional need requests submitted in each of the past 12 months; the extent to which all have been determined in order with the request; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23127/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Under the supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) scheme, the Department may make a single exceptional needs payment (ENP) to help meet essential, once-off, exceptional expenditure which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income. There is no automatic entitlement to a payment under this scheme. Payments are made 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. An urgent needs payment (UNP) may be made to persons who may not normally qualify for SWA but who have an urgent need which they cannot meet from their own resources or where an alternative is not available at that time. In total €38.8 million has been provided for exceptional and urgent needs payments in 2019.

Statistics are maintained relating to payments under the ENP and UNP schemes, however they are not maintained on the number of applications or the outcome of those applications. The following tabular statement shows the number of ENPs and UNPs made in each of the previous 12 months to end April 2019.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Tabular Statement

Number of Exceptional Needs Payments and Urgent Needs Payments between May 2018-April 2019:

Month

Number of Payments (rounded)

May 2018

9,200

June 2018

8,000

July 2018

9,000

August 2018

9,900

September 2018

9,000

October 2018

13,300

November 2018

11,500

December 2018

9,200

January 2019

9,400

February 2019

7,600

March 2019

7,800

April 2019

7,300

Question No. 155 answered with Question No. 153.