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Substantial drop in Supplementary Welfare Allowance payments – Mitchell

29 July, 2016 - by Denise Mitchell TD

Figures release by the Department of Social Protection through a question by Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Bay North, Denise Mitchell to the Minister demonstrates a dramatic drop in funding from the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme (formerly the Community Welfare Officer).

Teachta Denise Mitchell said that:

“There was €82 million provided to recipients in 2008 under the scheme, down to €30 million in 2014. Further the Government will be spending €30.3million for 2016. Taking into account the so called economic recovery, and the drop in live register figures, it still seems on the face of it a substantial drop.

“We must remember the purpose of these payments is for once-off and unforeseen expenditure and people will seek this service often in very difficult circumstances and under personal pressures. It is a scheme considered by the Department as a ‘safety net’ within the social welfare system and for those seeking immediate assistance. These payments can be for a multitude of reasons such as broken household appliances.  

“The Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme is seen as being demand led, but the Government must as a priority ensure that those facing genuine, difficult circumstances, and requiring an urgent payment, are not denied.

 “Revised guidelines were issued to staff in 2012 and 2013. We must ensure there have been no overarching policy changes by the Department in relation to the restriction of these ‘safety net’ payments.”


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