6,500 Covid-19 Rent supplement claims in payment
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on the government to do more to promote the availability of rent supplement for renters who may be struggling to meet rental costs. The call comes as figures show that the Covid 19 rent supplement payments have increased by 33% since March, with 6,500 claims in payment.
Teachta Ó Broin said:
“As of the 11th of March 2020, 15,264 households were in receipt of Rent Supplement from the Department of Social Protection.
“As of the 25th of May, that figure has risen to 20,400, an increase of 33%
“There are now 6,500 Covid19 rent supplement claims in payment
“There are also 1,900 claims pending which if granted, would mean an increase in those claiming rent supplement during the first three months of the pandemic reached 42%.
“The Department of Social Protection has been very slow to both promote the availability of rent supplement and to communicate the revised criteria for applications.
“Initial responses from the renters survey we launched last Friday indicated that many renters were unaware of the availability of this payment despite being worried about accumulating debt.
“The government must work with all parties, and representatives of tenants and landlords to come up with a rent arrears debt resolution process post-Covid-19 that does not heap the full burden of that debt on the shoulders of struggling renters.”
Note to editor: PQ response on rent supplement figures below.
For Written Answer on : 03/06/2020
Question Number(s): 1094 Question Reference(s): 8752/20
Department: Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Asked by: Eoin Ó Broin T.D.
* To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of new rent supplement applications received from 12 March 2020 to the most recent date for which figures are available; the number of new claims awarded from 12 March 2020 to the most recent date for which figures are available; the breakdown of these applications and claims by county; and if the availability of this rent support will be extended until the public health emergency is over. – Eoin Ó Broin T.D.
For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 3 June, 2020.
Rent supplement continues to play a key role in supporting families and individuals in private rented accommodation, with the scheme currently supporting approximately 20,400 recipients.
The scheme provides short-term income support, to eligible people living in private rented accommodation whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source. The scheme ensures that for those who were renting, and due to temporary loss of employment, can continue to meet their rental commitments.
Since the introduction of the Government’s Covid emergency response approximately 6,500 customers have been provided rent supplement support; in addition, there are currently, approximately, 1,900 pending applications awaiting a decision or in process of providing the necessary documentation to the officer dealing with the claim. I am advised by my Department that statistics in relation to overall approval/refusal rates in relation to the Scheme are not currently available.
The Department’s response to this emergency, ensuring that the inherent flexibility of the rent supplement is available, has been extended to 19 June 2020 and is being reviewed in the context of the Government’s continued response to the Covid emergency.
The cases that are currently in payment and awarded from the 13 March 2020 by county, along with cases currently pending a decision (or documentation still outstanding) are provided in the attached tabular statement.
I trust this clarifies the position for the Deputy.
Table 1: Rent Supplement Awards Post 13th March & Pending Claims as at 25th May 2020
CountyAwarded RS Cases Post 13th MarchPending Cases CARLOW10219CAVAN11414CLARE11317CORK669426DONEGAL1217DUBLIN2,502755GALWAY319131KERRY25668KILDARE30974KILKENNY12937LAOIS10514LEITRIM338LIMERICK2409LONGFORD3719LOUTH10944MAYO12935MEATH20846MONAGHAN468OFFALY504ROSCOMMON5820SLIGO6511TIPPERARY14823WATERFORD3614WESTMEATH1348WEXFORD16224WICKLOW26338 Grand Total6,4571,873