Exceptional Needs Payment and Urgent Needs Payment are payments under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme. You do not have to meet the habitual residence condition to qualify for either of these payments.
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 payments can be for special clothing for a person who has a serious illness, bedding or cooking utensils for someone setting up a home for the first time, visiting relatives in hospital or prison, or funeral costs. You can also apply for financial help for clothing for children.
Exceptional Needs Payments are no longer paid for religious ceremonies, mainly communions and confirmations.
Help with funeral costs
You may be eligible for an Exceptional Needs Payment to help you with the cost of a funeral if your income is low. Each case is decided on its merits by the Department of Social Protection's representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer) at your local office.
Help with fuel bills
You may get help with the cost of your electricity or natural gas bill but only in exceptional circumstances. The Department's representative will make a decision on your case using the Code of Practice on Fuel Debt.
An Urgent Needs Payment may be paid to people in emergency situations. For example, in the case of a fire, flood or other disaster, you may get a payment to help with the immediate cost of food and clothing. Depending on your circumstances, for example, if you are working or when an insurance claim has been settled, you may have to pay some or all of this back at a later date.
You may be eligible for an Exceptional Needs Payment if:
You won't normally be eligible if you are:
You may get an urgent needs payment no matter what your means, but might have to pay it back at a later date, for example, if you are earning or later get insurance compensation.
The amount of payment you get will depend on a means test and the type of
assistance you need.
You should apply for funeral assistance before the funeral takes place, however, failing this, you should apply as soon as possible afterwards.
To apply for either an Exceptional or Urgent Needs Payment payment you will need:
You should contact the Department of Social Protection's representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer) at your local office.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.