09 Dec 2021

Over €14,000 paid in Kilkenny towards fuel costs of those on social welfare

There were a total of 72 payments in 2017

A sum of €14,750 was paid in Kilkenny towards fuel costs and essential repairs of those on social welfare with a total of 72 payments made, new figures have revealed. 

Sinn Féin's John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection for the amount paid out by each community welfare office under the exceptional needs payment in 2017.

He also asked for the amount paid out by each community welfare office under the exceptional needs payment to cover fuel costs last year. 

The figures revealed that an average payment of €204 was made in Kilkenny to cover fuel costs. 

Over €600,000 was paid out in “exceptional needs” payments to people in Kilkenny in 2016, with no demand for receipts.

Under the supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) scheme, the Government 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.

The Government has provided over €36 million for exceptional and urgent payments in 2018.

There is no automatic entitlement and payment is made after an assessment to find out if the applicant could cover the cost.

In a written response, Minister Regina Doherty said: "Statistics are maintained relating to payments under the ENP scheme, however they are not maintained on the amount paid by each Community Welfare Office.

"Over 103,400 ENPs issued during 2017 at a provisional cost of €38 million.

"In 2017 there were 2,140 payments made at a cost of over €586,000 under the ENP scheme for assistance towards heating related costs, which includes fuel and essential repairs to equipment.

"Should the Deputy be aware of a case which may require an ENP, the person should be advised to contact their local community welfare service who may be able to offer assistance."

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