Thursday, 11 February 2021

Questions (179)

Gary Gannon

Question:

179. Deputy Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of applicants for and total payments of the supplementary welfare allowance made in 2019, 2020 and to date in 2021. [7801/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) scheme is the safety net within the overall social welfare system in that it provides assistance to eligible people in the State whose means are insufficient to meet their needs and those of their dependents. Supports provided under the SWA scheme can consist of a basic weekly payment, a weekly or monthly supplement in respect of certain expenses, as well as single exceptional needs payments (ENPs) and urgent needs payments (UNPs).

The basic supplementary welfare allowance provides immediate assistance for those in need who are awaiting the outcome of a claim or an appeal for a primary social welfare payment or do not qualify for payment under other State schemes.

Rent supplement provides short-term income support to eligible people living in private rented accommodation whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source. The scheme ensures that for those who were renting, but whose circumstances have changed due to temporary loss of employment, can continue to meet their rental commitments.

Under the SWA scheme, a supplement can be awarded to assist with ongoing or recurring costs that cannot be met from the client’s own resources and are deemed to be necessary. In addition, officers can make a single exceptional needs payment to help meet essential, once-off expenditure, which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income. Decisions on ENPs and SWA supplements 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.

Statistics are maintained on the number of applications awarded under the SWA scheme, however they are not maintained on the number of applications received or the outcome of those applications.

Table 1 shows the number of Basic SWA and supplement recipients and expenditure for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Table 2 shows the number of payments made under the ENP and UNP schemes and expenditure for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

It should also be noted that the urgent needs payments legislative provisions were used as the payment instrument for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment until August 2020. These payments have not been included in this reply.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Table 1

2019

2020

2021

Scheme

Recipients

Expenditure (€000)

Recipients

Expenditure(€000)(Provisional Outturn)

Recipients

(End Jan)

Expenditure(€000)(End Jan)

Basic SWA

16,884

120,175

12,234

115,210

11,670

7,470

Rent Supplement

16,781

125,248

19,304

133,088

19,657

11,150

Other Supplements

5,490

6,600

4,376

4,942

4,278

353

Table 2

2019

2020

2021

Scheme

Payments

Expenditure (€000)

Payments

Expenditure(€000)(provisional outturn)

Payments

(End Jan)

Expenditure(€000)(End Jan)

ENPs/UNPs

92,198

43,200

67,589

41,987

3,974

3,411