Focus Ireland welcomes reintroduction of weekly welfare payments from August
Focus Ireland welcomes the reintroduction of weekly welfare payments from August. This is an issue on which we have been engaging with Minister Heather Humphreys and the Department of Social Protection, to make sure that vulnerable tenants can manage their rent and sustain their tenancies.
During the lockdown in March, social welfare payments were moved to payment on a bi-weekly basis to limit the amount of people collecting payments in-person during the public health emergency. However, this new system didn’t take into account the vulnerability of people in receipt of social welfare, making it very difficult for them to meet their financial obligations.
Focus Ireland Policy Coordinator Rosemary Hennigan said:
“Many of the people we work with, including our own tenants and those participating in Housing First, are recovering from experiences of homelessness. We work with many of these vulnerable tenants to help them to manage their budgets and maintain their tenancies by timely payment of rent or differential rent contributions. For many of these vulnerable tenants, the move to bi-weekly payments made this process much more challenging and many are falling into arrears and other forms of debt as a result. This, in addition to the other challenges they have experienced during the Covid-19 (including in respect of their mental health), represents an enormous setback for them. They have been working hard on recovery and the reintroduction of the weekly payment will help support them in this work. Focus Ireland believes the return to weekly welfare payments will make a huge difference to the individuals concerned, while also helping to prevent their return to homelessness.”