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Social Welfare Payments

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 25 November 2021

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Questions (21)

Joe Flaherty

Question:

21. Deputy Joe Flaherty asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of those availing of urgent needs and exceptional needs payments, by the main reason, from 2018 to 2020 and to date in 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [58017/21]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) scheme, my Department can make a single Exceptional Needs Payment (ENP) to help meet essential, once-off expenditure which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income. An urgent needs payment (UNP) may be made to persons who may not normally qualify for supplementary welfare allowance but who have an urgent need which they cannot meet from their own resources or where an alternative is not available at that time. Government has provided €46.02 million for the exceptional and urgent needs schemes in 2021.

Approximately 112,500 payments were made in 2018, 92,200 payments in 2019, and 67,600 payments in 2020. To date in 2021, 46,000 payments have been made. The categories with the largest number of payments within the ENP scheme are the housing category, which includes payments for necessary items including bedding, flooring, furniture, household appliances and rent deposits; and the general category, which includes support for travel costs, heating costs and the clothing category.

Table 1 shows the number of ENPs and UNPs paid by category in 2018, 2019, 2020 and to the end of October 2021.

I would encourage any person who considers they may have an entitlement to an exceptional or urgent needs payment to contact their local Intreo Centre. There is a national Income Support Helpline in place - 0818-800024 - which will direct callers to the appropriate office.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Table 1 - Number of ENPs paid by county for 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021(end of October)

Category

2018

2019

2020

2021

Bills

3,007

2,932

2,000

1,387

Child Related

3,537

3,215

2,324

1,733

Clothing

17,172

16,238

12,105

6,954

Funeral

2,881

2,905

2,778

2,085

General

48,416

35,411

19,686

11,077

Housing

26,498

27,584

26,077

21,373

Illness

2,670

2,207

1,507

1,088

Urgent Needs Payment

8,333

1,706

1,112

259

Total

112,514

92,198

67,589

45,956

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