Thursday, 30 May 2019

Questions (156)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

156. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the extent to which rent support payments are under review at a given time; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23129/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Rent supplement continues its important role in housing families and individuals, with the scheme supporting some 21,250 recipients for which the Government has provided €132.4 million for 2019.

Staff in this Department engage with customers throughout the entire lifecycle of their claim, including on regular reviews for all schemes on an ongoing basis, as a control measure and to ensure that they continue to satisfy the conditions of the scheme. A person’s means may also be reviewed from time to time. A customer may also request a review of their means in the light of changed circumstances at any time.

Rent supplement claims may be reviewed following a decision to suspend or disallow a primary social welfare payment as there may be a change to the claimant’s circumstances that could affect eligibility. During a review of a rent supplement claim, the CWS officers will engage with a claimant to establish continued eligibility as quickly as possible and limit any delay to payments. Payments are not suspended unless there is a valid reason for doing so, for example the provision of insufficient information by the customer in response to a query, or where there is no reply from the customer. Undue hardship for customers should not arise if there is on going co-operation from the customer with the Deciding Officer/Designated Person in this Department.

Any person in this situation is encouraged to contact the Department’s CWS office responsible for their rent supplement claim to discuss their circumstances.

If the Deputy has concerns in respect of a particular case, he should bring the details to the attention of the Department and DEASP officials will follow up on them.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.