Offices of the Department of Social Protection in Laois and Offaly registered 3,331 claims for additional need, more commonly known as exceptional need, payments between 1 January and the end of August this year. The total amount paid out for both counties totalled just over €1,523,000.
The data was provided to the Independent TD for Laois-Offaly, Carol Nolan, after she asked the Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphries, the number of such applications that were successful; the number rejected; and the total amount paid out through the exceptional need payment during this time period for each county.
When the information is broken down it shows that there were 1,640 registered applications for assistance in Laois, of which 1,020 were awarded and 76 of which were outright disallowed.
The figures for Offaly reveal that there were 1, 691 applications. The number of those awarded was 1,316 with 83 being disallowed.
The total expenditure on the exceptional need payment for Laois during this period amounted to €682,177 while the amount for Offaly was €841,407. Figures for September 2022 are not yet available.
“The scale of the applications being made for urgent financial assistance clearly demonstrates that families and people, especially those on low fixed incomes are struggling to make ends meet,” said Deputy Nolan.
“I fully expect the numbers for September and October to rise significantly once the data becomes available, given the massive surge in energy costs and the cost of living.”
“Some of those who registered are still awaiting a decision which accounts for the discrepancy in the numbers who registered, and the number of payments awarded. Given how difficult it is going to get over the next few months, it is vital that this process is streamlined to the greatest extent possible, and that assistance is provided to anyone who urgently requires it as soon as possible.”