Friday, 6 September 2019

Ceisteanna (1888)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

1888. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the cost in 2019 to date and in the previous four years of income and other supports to those accommodated under the direct provision system; and the number supported in 2019 and in the previous four years. [36671/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection administers the daily expenses allowance (DEA) which is paid to protection applicants living in accommodation provided by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of the Department of Justice and Equality. The Government has provided €9.38 million for the allowance in 2019. The weekly rates of payment were increased in Budget 2019 from €21.60 per adult to €38.80 and from €21.60 per child to €29.80.

There are currently 3,920 DEA claims in payment, in respect of approximately 4,300 adults and 1,770 children residing in direct provision accommodation centres and temporary emergency accommodation.

In addition, under the supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) scheme, the Department may make a single exceptional needs payment (ENP) to help meet essential, once-off, exceptional expenditure which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income. Applicants for international protection can access exceptional needs payments as these are not subject to the habitual residence condition which applies to most social welfare payments.

ENPs paid to persons in the direct provision system are largely towards clothing costs, transport costs and child related items such as prams/buggies. Supports may also be provided towards costs associated with moving into the community such as rent deposits and the purchase of items associated with setting up home.

Protection applicants with children may also access the back to school clothing and footwear allowance (BSCFA) as this is not subject to the habitual residence condition. This scheme provides a once-off payment to eligible families to assist with the extra costs when children start school each autumn. The Government has provided €57.2 million for the scheme in 2019 which operates from June to September.

Since 2018 applicants for international protection who have not received a first instance decision on their protection application for 9 months (and that delay cannot be attributed to the applicant) can apply for a renewable permission to take up employment/self-employment and have full access to the labour market. Such persons may access the Department’s Public Employment Service through the Department’s Intreo Centre network where Case Officers will assist, guide and support these clients in their job seeking efforts and/or educational needs. Where a protection applicant with children is in employment, they may qualify for the working family payment, subject to the rules of the scheme.

The following tabular statement provides details requested by the Deputy. Table 1 provides details of expenditure and numbers of claims under the daily expenses allowance scheme, previously the direct provision allowance.

Table 2 provides details of the number of payments made and expenditure under the ENP scheme to persons resident in direct provision accommodation centres in 2019 and in the previous four years. This includes payments to protection applicants and people who have received a decision on their application. In addition, ENPs are paid to applicants for international protection who are placed in temporary emergency accommodation but as this expenditure is not reported separately it is not included in this table.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Tabular statement

Table 1 Number of DEA Payments and Expenditure in the direct provision system

Year

Number of Claims

(at year end)

Expenditure

2015

2,990

€3.85m

2016

2,600

€3.99m

2017

3,080

€4.91m

2018

3,340

€6.36m (Provisional Outturn)

2019

3,920 (Aug 31st)

€9.38m (Revised Estimate)

Table 2: Number of ENPs and expenditure made to persons residing in direct provision accommodation centres, 2015-2019

Year

Number of Payments

Expenditure

2015

15,800

€1.26m

2016

18,100

€1.37m

2017

19,500

€1.50m

2018

22,500

€1.82m

2019 (up to 31/8/2019)

13,400

€1.10m

Question No. 1889 answered with Question No. 1762.