Dail Question on protecting families from misuse of social welfare payments

-   Alan Farrell TD

To ask the Minister for Social Protection if there is the requirement for a review of social welfare payments to families who are living in poverty to protect the misuse of payments for drug or alcohol abuse at the expense of children or spouses; if there is a method by which teachers and persons can report suspected misuse of payments to her Department for action to be taken; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  

Reply from the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton T.D.
 
The objective of the social protection system is to promote active participation in society through the provision of income supports, employment services and other services.  It does this in order to attain better outcomes in tackling poverty for children and families, people of working age and older people.
The Department does not control how benefits are actually spent.  It is a matter for each individual customer to use their income support as they see fit having regard to their specific needs.
 
If a claimant has a particular difficulty with drugs or alcohol it is open to the claimant or their adult dependant to apply for separate payments.
 
Any person who becomes aware of suspected abuse or neglect should immediately report it to the HSE Children and Family Services’ Social Work Service.

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