Wednesday, 6 May 1992
Dáil Éireann Debate
85. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will outline the percentage of the total population currently in receipt of social welfare payments of one type or another; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. McCreevy): There are currently over 1.4 million persons who benefit from the social welfare system on a weekly basis. This figure includes claimants themselves and their adult and child dependants. This amounts to 40 per cent of the total population. In addition, there are 1.1 million children in receipt of child benefit and this represents virtually all children in the relevant age group in the State.
Not all recipients of social welfare payments are solely dependent on this source of income. Persons in receipt of social insurance payments who are in employment may have other income such as employers sick-pay and persons such as contributory pensioners would often have another source of income from a private or occupational pension.
89. Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a person (details supplied) in Dublin 1 whose sole income is £58.20 per week deserted wife's allowance is entitled to any assistance or supplementary welfare to assist mortgage repayments of £25 per week.
Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. McCreevy): Under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme a weekly supplement can be paid towards rent or mortgage interest payments where the payment exceeds £3.50 per week. As a general rule supplements are calculated so as to leave the person, after payment of rent or mortgage interest, with an income equal to the rate of supplementary welfare allowance appropriate  to the person's family size, less £3.50.
I understand from the Eastern Health Board, which is responsible for the administration of the supplementary welfare allowance scheme in the Dublin area, that the person in question applied for a mortgage supplement in 1990. While the person in question qualified for a supplement she decided not to take up the supplement because of the low rate payable in her case.
The board has advised that in recent weeks the person in question again raised the question of her entitlement to a mortgage supplement with her local community welfare officer who requested the person to furnish details of current mortgage repayments. The health board will re-examine the applicant's entitlement on receipt of this information.
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