SWA - Exceptional Needs Payments

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Table of Contents

1. Description of Scheme

Under the SWA scheme, a single payment may be made 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 (ENPs).

2. Qualifying Conditions

Eligible people would normally be in receipt of a social welfare or health service executive payment. However, there is no automatic entitlement to such payments. ENPs are payable at the discretion of the Department’s representative taking into account the requirements of the legislation and all the relevant circumstances of the case. The assessment of capital using the formula outlined at Property & Capital Section does not apply to Exceptional Needs Payments.

3. Disqualification

Normally persons in full-time education, in full-time employment, or directly involved in a trade dispute are not eligible to apply for ENPs. However people who are participating in certain Education or Work Schemes or directly involved in a trade dispute may apply for an Exceptional Needs Payment for a dependent adult or dependent child. Where someone has capital resources, or the availability to access alternative resources sufficient to meet the need, it would be expected that they provide for the need from that source.

4. Types of payments

The payments would be for items such as bedding or cooking utensils for someone setting up a home for the first time, costs in relation to funerals, visiting relatives in hospital or prison etc. or for clothing in exceptional circumstances.

The Department has published information to assist customers in financial difficulty with their energy bills.

5. Rates Structure

As ENPs are there to assist people with once-off exceptional expenditure the rates vary depending on the type of assistance required.

6. Applications

Applications for Exceptional Needs Payments may be made to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection's representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer) at your local office.

Last modified:08/02/2018

 Application Forms