Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD, has urged Minister Heather Humphreys to urgently engage with her Department and consider extending the recent cost of living bonus payment to adult dependents.
Teachta Ó Laoghaire was speaking during a debate in the Dáil where he raised the matter with the Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys.
Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:
“A week or two after the recent cost-of-living bonus payment was made to families, I started getting calls, primarily from pensioners, who were shocked and surprised that they had not received the €200 cost-of-living payment.
“These people are adult dependents on a social welfare payment. This seems grossly unfair because they were led to believe they would qualify as they get the Christmas bonus.
“Those who are affected by this are predominantly from low-income households.
“The precedent in respect of bonus payments, insofar as there are any, relates to the Christmas bonus, which has been paid for the past four or five years.
“Throughout that time, adult dependents got the Christmas bonus. There is no precedent for adult dependents not receiving a bonus payment.
“These people were led to believe, in the initial discussions that led to the payment, as I understand it, that they were to receive it. They had no sense they were not going to get it.
“Often, it is six of one, half a dozen of the other as to whether an elderly couple will go for two payments, or one as an adult dependent on another payment.
“The qualifying conditions do not vary greatly. People would have been expecting the payment and relying on it to put food on the table and pay bills.
“Why were they not included and why did they not get it?
“What I do not understand is the rationale for why it happened. There could be two couples living next door to each, number 3 and number 4 on Connolly Road for example.
“Those two elderly people could have individual payments and their neighbours, one as an adult dependent, and neither would have ever anticipated they might lose out on a payment such as this because they applied for that payment.
“There is a great deal of shock about this for those families and individuals who are affected. They came to expect the payment.
“Perhaps the Minister will say if this is not the case, but as I understand it, her Department was initially going to pay it to dependants also. Will the Minister make a comment on that? I do not believe it is too late.
“Will she look at this now and consider extending the payment to adult dependents?
“It is the right thing to do, it is not too late, and people are under enormous pressure. This €200 was expected. People had it allocated to a particular bill or set of shopping. They should get it too.”