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Social Welfare Benefits

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 25 November 2021

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Ceisteanna (61)

Holly Cairns

Ceist:

61. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Social Protection her views on introducing a scheme that would cover the cost of burials and cremations for the families of deceased children. [57978/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

The death of a child is a tragedy and the difficulties experienced by parents and families as a result cannot be overstated.

Within the social welfare system, there are a number of supports for people who suffer a bereavement involving a child. In particular, there are arrangements which allow for certain payments to continue for a period after a person dies.

If a person is in receipt of a primary social welfare payment, which includes an increase for a qualified child, the qualified child payment will continue for six weeks after the child's death.

Where an individual has been in receipt of One-Parent Family Payment and an increase for a qualified child, both payments will continue for six weeks after the death of the child.

Regarding Carer’s Allowance, payment continues for twelve weeks after the death of a child who was being cared for.

In the case of Domiciliary Care Allowance, payment continues for three months after the death of the child being cared for.

Working Family Payment and the Back to Work Family Dividend also remain in payment for up to six weeks after the death of a qualifying child. Eligibility may continue beyond those six weeks if there are other children associated with the claim.

Under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme, the Department may also make an exceptional needs payment (ENP) to help meet essential, once-off expenditure which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet from their weekly income.

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 or child, without causing hardship. In 2020, approximately 2,800 exceptional needs payments totalling €5.6 million were made in relation to funeral and burial costs.

In Budget 2020, €60,000 was allocated to the Irish Hospice Foundation, to carry out a research project into funeral poverty in Ireland, together with the wider economic impact of bereavement. This project is expected to be completed in the near future and I look forward to studying its findings.

I hope that this clarifies matters for the Deputy.

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