An Exceptional Needs Payment is a single payment to help meet essential, once-off, exceptional expenditure, which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income.
For example, the payment can be for bedding or cooking utensils for someone setting up a home for the first time, visiting relatives in hospital or prison, funeral costs or for clothing in exceptional circumstances.
Given the ongoing restrictions due to COVID-19 and the requirement for individuals and households to restrict their movements, some households may incur more electricity and heating costs than would normally be the case.
For households dependent on income support payments from this department, the additional heating costs may present a significant challenge. Financial support in the form of an Exceptional Needs Payment may be available to pay the additional cost of heating and electricity.
Exceptional Needs Payments are administered by the Community Welfare Service (CWS) of the department.
How to qualify
Eligible people would normally be in receipt of a social welfare or health service executive payment. However, there is no automatic entitlement to such payments.
Exceptional Needs Payments 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.
You may be eligible for an Exceptional Needs Payment if:
you are living in the State
you satisfy a means test (all capital/property, except your home, is assessed in the means test)
You won't normally be eligible if you:
have access to alternative resources, including capital, to meet the need
are in full-time work (30 hours or more per week)
are in full-time education
are involved in a trade dispute or on strike. However, you may apply for an Exceptional Needs Payment for your dependent adult or dependent child.
Rate of payment
The amount of payment you get will depend on a means test and the type of assistance you need.
You should contact the Community Welfare Service at your local office.
An application form is available to download here or from your local office.