Government Claims That The Social Protection Exceptional Needs Payment Is Available For Those In Need Is Utterly Untrue

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett has said that the government claims that the Exceptional Needs Payment is available to all in need is just untrue.

Speaking in the Dáil, the Dún Laoghaire TD told of a pensioner in his constituency, who is in need of a new cooker, who has been asked by Social Protection to get a certified engineer to report that the cooker is no longer working before they will give her the €400 to buy a new cooker.

The TD said: “I have heard two TD’s from government, on the media, imply that if you are in need of money you can just go and pick up your exceptional needs payment from social welfare. 

“This is just untrue. On Monday a pensioner, who is living alone in a council tenancy, came into my office with a letter from the community welfare officer insisting that she get a “certified engineer” to prove her cooker is broken before they will release funds to allow her to get a new cooker. 

“The cooker is 15 years old, has been transferred with her from the home she brought her family up in, to a smaller unit, to a downstairs unit.  Finally, it has given up the ghost and takes over 4 hours to cook a chicken.  She has tried to find a “certified engineer” to look at the cooker but as she said herself – they have better things to be doing – they are working, or they will charge €100 to come and look at it.  This woman doesn’t have the €100 either.

“This is a disgraceful way for the government to treat anyone. The government needs to actually address the cost of living instead of humiliating pensioners like the one who visited my office by making them beg for the paltry sum of around €400 for a new cooker so she can feed herself well.”