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Monday 2 October 2023 Dublin: 11°C
Alamy Stock Photo Around 17,000 applications for the emergency social welfare payment were received last month.
# Cost of Living
€22.7 million paid out so far this year on emergency social welfare payments
The Government has provided funding of €45.75 million for the additional needs payment this year.

NEARLY HALF OF the funding for emergency social welfare payments has already been paid out, according to the Department of Social Protection.

The overall expenditure on the additional needs payment for the period from January to end of June 2022 amounted to €22.7 million, The Journal can confirm.

The Government has provided funding of €45.75 million for the additional needs payment this year.

Expenditure is not capped as it is demand led and no qualifying application will be refused, said the department. 

Around 17,000 applications for the emergency social welfare payment – which is used to cover basic necessities such as food, clothing, fuel and utility bills – were received in July.

In June, the department received nearly 15,000 applications while in May the number of applications received was 11,700.

There has been a jump of over 10,000 applications on April’s figures, when just 6,500 applications were received. 

The additional needs payment is a payment available to any person who cannot pay an expense from their weekly income.

A person can receive the payment even if they are not getting a social welfare payment and it is also available to a person who is working or on a low income. Those on social welfare can also avail of the payment. 

Speaking in Monaghan today, the Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys said her department launched an extensive campaign to make people aware that the additional needs payment is available to those that need it.

“So I’m glad that people are taking up that option because that is the safety net for people who find themselves in difficulty,” he said.

When asked if such a jump in emergency social welfare payments highlights the need for a hike in social welfare and the State pension, which some charity groups have called for, the minister said: 

“I’d want to be an octopus to hold down all the kites that are being flown about the budget at the minute, in terms of my dept, but I will engage with my colleagues across Government, that is with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, the Minister for Finance and the three party leaders and putting together a package that will support people with the challenges that they are facing at the minute in terms of the cost of living.”

A spokesperson for SVP said that the rise in emergency payment figures reflect what the charity has been experiencing on the ground. 

Under the scheme, they said an additional needs payment is made to people who need help with fuel, utility bills, repairs to or replacement of household appliances, clothing, child related items such as prams, and assistance with funerals and travel.

In order to be eligible, weekly income limits are set at €350 for a single person, €450 for a couple with no children and between €551 and €1,318 depending on the number of children in the household. 

However, even with the criteria set out, community welfare officers can ultimately use their own discretion and decide upon a person’s circumstances. 

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