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Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Wednesday, 6 February 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 547 No. 4

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 163. Mr. G. Mitchell Information on Gay Mitchell Zoom on Gay Mitchell  asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs Information on Dermot Ahern Zoom on Dermot Ahern  if he will direct the health board to grant a clothing allowance to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12. [3788/02]

Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): Information on Dermot Ahern Zoom on Dermot Ahern There is no formal payment such as a clothing grant for adults. Expenses incurred in respect of normal clothing requirements which are of a predictable and recurring nature should be budgeted for out of regular weekly income.

Legislation governing the supplementary welfare allowance scheme which is administered by the health boards on behalf of my Department allows health boards to make a single payment to help meet essential, once-off, exceptional expenditure which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income. These payments are known as exceptional needs payments. There is no automatic entitlement to an exceptional needs payment. Exceptional needs payments are made at the discretion of the health boards and neither I nor my Department have any function in deciding entitlement in individual cases.

The South-Western Area Health Board was contacted on behalf of the individual in question and has advised that the application for an exceptional needs payment in respect of clothing was refused on the grounds that no exceptional need had been proven. In the opinion of the board the individual's weekly income level was sufficient to cater for normal clothing requirements.

The board has further advised that when the application for an exceptional needs payment was refused the individual in question was informed of her right to appeal the community welfare officer's decision. To date no appeal has been lodged with the health board appeals officer.


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