Dáil Éireann - Volume 534 - 10 April, 2001
Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.
Mr. McDowell Mr. McDowell
47. Mr. McDowell asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs his views on whether the £15 per week allowance for asy lum seekers is adequate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10477/01]
Proinsias De Rossa Proinsias De Rossa
49. Proinsias De Rossa asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs his plans to increase the £15 per week allowance payable to asylum seekers in direct provision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10476/01]
Mr. D. Ahern Mr. D. Ahern
Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): I propose to take Questions Nos. 47 and 49 together.
The main objective of the supplementary welfare allowance scheme is to make up the difference between a person's means whether in cash or in kind and their needs. Where a person has access to some resources in kind or in cash, through the social welfare system or otherwise, the relevant legislation requires that this be taken into account in determining entitlement to supplementary welfare allowance. This occurs in the case of asylum seekers in direct provision who are being provided with full board accommodation, all meals and other services. In such cases the recommended weekly allowance is £15 per adult and £7.50 per child to provide for personal requisites. Furthermore, where there are other reasonable expenses, exceptional needs payments are made by the health boards.
As the Deputies are aware, I set up a working group last year comprising representatives from relevant Departments to examine this and related issues. This group is evaluating the adequacy of the current payment rates to asylum seekers in direct provision. It has sought and received submissions from various statutory and non-statutory agencies and organisations. These will be considered and together with data from relevant sources such as the household budget survey, they provide a sound basis upon which to reach a conclusion on this matter. I understand the group will report its findings and recommendations to me shortly.
Dáil Éireann 534 Written Answers. Social Welfare Benefits.