Dáil Éireann - Volume 558 - 27 November, 2002

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

  239. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the changes which she [619]has made in the SWA supplement for rent or mortgage interest in the Estimates; the level of rent contribution by the applicant; the disregard which will be allowed in respect of incomes from different sources; and the ceilings which will apply for rent subventions for families of different sizes in 2003. [24046/02]

  Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Mary Coughlan): My Department's Estimates for 2003 have provided for an additional €18.1 million in respect of expenditure on rent and mortgage interest supplement under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme over and above the expected outturn for 2002. This represents an increase of 7.2%.

  All applicants for rent or mortgage interest supplement are currently required to contribute [620]a minimum of €7.62 per week towards their accommodation costs. This level was set in 1994 and represented about 10% of the SWA personal rate at that time. As I announced recently, the minimum contribution is being restored to approximately 10% of the minimum social welfare payment which is €12.

  I have no plans to amend the sources of income that are disregarded for rent or mortgage interest supplement from those advised to the Deputy in my reply to Question No. 223 on 21 November.

  As the Deputy may be aware, I recently introduced regulations setting out the maximum rent levels. These will be used as the basis for calculating the amount of rent and mortgage interest supplement payable to various family sizes. I will arrange to have details of the levels appropriate to the different family sizes across all health boards made available to the Deputy.