Thursday, 9 December 2010
Dáil Éireann Debate
85. Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding the way family income supplement payments are treated with rent allowance applications; if same can be outlined and if such treatment is consistent with other benefits. [46810/10]
Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív): Rent supplement is administered on behalf of the Department by the community welfare service of the Health Service Executive as part of the supplementary welfare allowance scheme.
Rent supplement is normally calculated to ensure that a person, after the payment of rent, has an income equal to the rate of supplementary welfare allowance appropriate to their family circumstances less a minimum contribution of €24, which recipients are required to pay from their own resources. Many recipients pay more than €24 because they are also required, subject to certain income disregards, to contribute any additional assessable means that they have, over and above the appropriate basic supplementary welfare allowance rate, towards their accommodation costs.
Social welfare legislation provides that all income in cash is assessable for supplementary welfare allowance purposes. This includes income from most social welfare payments including family income supplement. Some specific disregards of income are provided for in the legislation in respect of the means test for pensioners, carers, recipients of child benefit, guardian’s payment, respite care grant and those engaged in rehabilitative employment.
The income assessment for rent supplement provides for a gradual withdrawal of payment as hours of employment or earnings increase. Where a person has additional income in excess of the standard weekly rate of supplementary welfare allowance, the first €75 of such additional income together with 25% of any additional income above €75 is disregarded for means assessment purposes. For the purposes of the assessment, any income from family income supplement which is in excess of the standard supplementary welfare allowance rate can be subject to the additional income disregard. This ensures that those engaging in part-time work or participating in training schemes are better off as a result of taking up such an opportunity.
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