Under the supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) scheme, my Department may 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 ENP is a means tested payment payable 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 in order to ensure that the payments target those most in need of assistance.
An application can be made under the ENP scheme for assistance with funeral and burial expenses where there is an inability to pay these costs, in part or in full, by the family of the deceased person without causing hardship.
As previously advised to the Deputy, the Department does not procure goods or services under the ENP scheme. Payment of an ENP is made to the customer to meet a particular need but can be nominated to the supplier of goods or services with the permission of the customer. The contractual relationship is, however, between the customer and the supplier, and not the Department.
In May 2018 my Department issued updated guidance for staff specifically in relation to assistance with funeral and burial expenses, as well as a new application form which is available on www.welfare.ie.
Any persons who consider that they have an entitlement to assistance with funeral expenses under the ENP scheme should contact my Department.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.