Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Questions (604)

John Brady


604. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if consideration is given to rental costs for recipients of disability allowance in cases in which payment rates are set through the means test. [25027/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

People receiving Disability Allowance who have rental costs may also qualify for Rent Supplement. Rent Supplement is a statutory means-tested scheme, payable at differentiated rates of payment according to the applicant’s means and accommodation requirements. It is normally calculated to ensure that a person, after the payment of rent, has an income equal to the rate of supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) appropriate to their family circumstances less a weekly minimum contribution which recipients are required to pay from their own resources. Assuming that a person has no other income, apart from disability allowance, the contribution expected would be €32 per week (or €129 per month) or €40 per week (or €173 per month) in the case of a couple.

Where a person with disabilities has secured part-time employment, they can continue to receive rent supplement provided they satisfy the standard means assessment rules. Generally, where a person has additional income in excess of the standard weekly rate of supplementary welfare allowance, the first €75 of such additional income together with 25% of any additional income above €75 is disregarded for means assessment purposes. There is an alternative disregard available to persons receiving disability allowance (or blind pension), which is that up to €120 of earnings from training or part time employment can be disregarded in full. Only one of these earnings disregards can be applied to a person’s income. Which of these is most beneficial will depend on the person's level of earnings.

Where recipients of Disability Allowance are being paid maintenance by ex-partners, a €95.23 weekly disregard on housing costs can be applied.

The Department continues to implement a targeted case-by-case flexible payment policy approach – the National Tenancy Sustainment Framework - which allows for flexibility where landlords seek rents in excess of the rent limits. Included within this Framework is the additional assistance required by persons with disabilities who require specially modified accommodation.