Social Protection | To ask the Minister for Social Protection the total number of exceptional needs payments made in each of the past two years to date
To ask the Minister for Social Protection the total number of exceptional needs payments made in each of the past two years to date; the most common reasons for which the payment was sought; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
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 €45.75 million for the exceptional and urgent needs schemes in 2022.
There were approximately 67,600 payments in 2020 and 55,500 payments in 2021. To date in 2022, 18,900 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.
Any person who considers they may have an entitlement to an exceptional or urgent needs payment are encouraged to contact their local Intreo Centre. There is a National Intreo Contact Centre in place – 0818-405060 – which will direct callers to the appropriate office.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.
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