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Urgent Needs Payments (SWA)

From: Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

What an Urgent Needs Payment is

An Urgent Needs Payment (UNP) is a once-off payment made to persons, including those who may not normally qualify for Supplementary Welfare Allowance, but who have an urgent need which they cannot meet from their own resources or an alternative is not available at that time.

Examples of this would be to meet immediate needs, such as food, clothing or shelter in the aftermath of a fire, flood or other emergency event.

Urgent Needs Payments are administered by the Community Welfare Service of the department.

How to qualify

Anyone may qualify for a payment to meet an urgent need. However, there is no automatic entitlement to such payments.

UNPs are payable at the discretion of the CWS officer taking into account the requirements of the legislation and all the relevant circumstances of the case.

Consideration will be given to whether you have access to commercial credit at the time of the urgent need, for example, a credit card, or insurance cover.

Rate of payment

The amount you get will depend on the type of assistance that you need.

Depending on your circumstances, for example, if you are working, you may have to pay some or all of this payment back at a later date.


You should contact the Community Welfare Service at your local office.

An application form is available to download here or from your local office.

Claim Form: Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA1)

Claim Form for Supplementary Welfare Allowance/ Exceptional Needs Payment


To help process your claim, you should have the following:

  • Personal Public Service (PPS) numbers for yourself, your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant and your children
  • proof of address
  • proof of residency (where relevant)
  • proof of identity, for example, a Public Services Card (if you have one), a passport, driving licence, work permit, immigration (GNIB) card, and so on
  • documents to show your income and financial situation, such as pay slips and bank statements

Operational Guidelines

Operational guidelines describe the processes and procedures that staff in the department follow when carrying out their work.

Operational Guidelines: SWA - Urgent Needs Payments