Administration of the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme
The Department of Social Protection's (DSP) representatives, formerly known as Community Welfare Officers (CWOs), are employed throughout Ireland by the DSP. CWOs were previously employed by the Health Service Executive (HSE). In legislation they are called designated persons.
They are based in Intreo centres and are responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme.
Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme
The Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme is funded by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. The payments made under this scheme include: weekly Supplementary Welfare Allowance, Rent Supplement, Mortgage Interest Supplement, Diet and Heating Supplements, Back to School Clothing and Footwear Scheme and exceptional needs payments for items such as buggies, clothing, etc.
DSP staff are responsible for assessing the income of a person applying for payments under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme. This assessment may involve home visits to verify a person's place of residence for Rent Supplement purposes or simply to interview someone in surroundings that are more comfortable if he or she has special needs or is unable to visit his or her local Intreo centre in person.
DSP staff will actively refer individuals to other state agencies and voluntary organisations depending on the client's needs. For example, you may be referred to the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS).
Decisions made by DSP staff
DSP staff (designated persons) make decisions about applications under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme. While they make the decision, they can consult their immediate manager.
Appealing a decision
If you are unhappy with a decision made by a designated person, you may appeal the decision.
If your appeal concerns a payment of basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance, Mortgage or Rent Supplement, you have a right to have your appeal heard by the Social Welfare Appeals Office. Discretionary payments such as Exceptional Needs Payments cannot be appealed to the Social Welfare Appeals Office, but they can be reviewed by another DSP staff member on request.
There is no charge for making an appeal against a decision of a designated person. There is also no charge for appealing a decision to the Office of the Ombudsman or to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.
Where to apply
You should contact the Department of Employment Affairs and Social
Protection's representative (formerly the Community Welfare Officer) at your local