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.
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 the qualified adult and qualified child/children of a person on strike may apply.
4. Types of payments
The payments would be for items such as special clothing in the case of a person who has a serious illness, 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.
Practice in relation to assistance with fuel bills is set out in the Code of Practice (SW94) agreed between the Departments officials administering the SWA scheme and the electricity and gas energy supply companies.
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.
Applications for Exceptional Needs Payments may be made to your local Department of Social Protection Office administering Supplementary Welfare Allowance.