I propose to take Questions Nos. 48, 64 and 95 together.
Applications for social housing support are assessed by the relevant local authority in accordance with the eligibility and need criteria set down in section 20 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and the associated Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011, as amended. The 2011 regulations prescribe maximum net income limits for each local authority, in different bands according to the area concerned, with income being defined and assessed according to a standard household means policy. The 2011 regulations do not provide local authorities with any discretion to exceed the limits that apply to their administrative areas.
Under the household means policy, which applies in all local authorities, net income for social housing assessment is defined as gross household income less income tax, PRSI, universal social charge and pension-related deductions within the meaning of Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009. The policy provides for a range of income disregards, and local authorities have discretion to decide to disregard income that is temporary, short term or once-off in nature.
The income bands are expressed in terms of a maximum net income threshold for a single-person household, with an allowance of 5% for each additional adult household member, subject to a maximum allowance under this category of 10%, and 2.5% for each child, subject to a maximum allowance under this category of 10%.
Given the cost to the State of providing social housing, it is considered prudent and fair to direct resources to those most in need of social housing support. The current income eligibility requirements generally achieve this, providing for a fair and equitable system of identifying those households facing the greatest challenge in meeting their accommodation needs from their own resources. However, as part of the broader social housing reform agenda, a review of income eligibility for social housing supports in each local authority area is under way. The review will have regard to current initiatives being brought forward in terms of affordability and cost rental and will be completed when the impacts of these parallel initiatives have been considered.