A total of 15,537 people living in Cork have benefited from the telephone support allowance (TSA) in 2018 since it was returned by the Fine Gael led Government.
The TSA was announced during Budget 2018 and has been in effect since June, North Cork Fine Gael Councillor John Paul O’Shea said.
The TSA amounts to up to €130 a year and is intended to assist with the cost of communications and home security solutions.
People who are in receipt of a Living Alone Allowance (increasing their main DEASP payment) and a Fuel Allowance automatically qualify for the TSA. Approximately 128,000 people nationwide are in now receipt of the weekly TSA payment. The estimated full year cost of the scheme is €16.14 million.
Cllr. O’Shea said: “I am very pleased to see that this scheme is helping people here in Cork. The main objective of the TSA is to allow the most vulnerable people access to personal alarms or phones for security. The allowance will also encourage social contact and assist in the prevention of social isolation for those living alone.
“People who qualify for the TSA automatically receive the payment. There is no need to fill out an application form and people don’t have to apply to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to receive it.
“Budget 2019 provided for a social welfare package of €20.5 billion for 2019, which includes €361.6 million in additional social welfare expenditure.
“Fine Gael in Government is committed to funding and making adjustments to those elements of the social welfare code that can deliver greatest impact in terms of alleviating poverty for those groups most at risk,” concluded Cllr. O’Shea.