Pensioners hosting war refugees ‘will receive welfare benefits’

Pensioners who provide rooms in their homes to refugees fleeing Ukraine will not see their welfare benefits impacted by people staying in their homes.

Eleven payments, such as sole living allowance and fuel allowance, would normally be reduced when a person began hosting someone else in their home.

However, Social Protection Secretary Heather Humphreys will today announce plans to sign new rules that mean pensioners face no penalty if they choose to offer a room in their home to a refugee fleeing war-torn Ukraine.

Ms Humphreys has been contacted by elderly people who fear their weekly payments will be cut if they open their home to refugees.

The housing allowance is €22 per week and the fuel allowance is €33 per week over 28 weeks.

The move is one of a series of government measures to deal with the humanitarian crisis sparked by last month’s Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Around 10,000 Ukrainians have already arrived in Ireland and that number is expected to double by the end of the month.

Hotel rooms are still the main accommodation used by the government to accommodate people arriving in Ireland. This week, however, inspections of around 4,000 vacant apartments that have been offered for sale by the public will begin.

The Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers will conduct the inspections to ensure the properties can be used as housing for people fleeing Ukraine.

Children’s Secretary Roderic O’Gorman is leading the government’s response to the refugee crisis.

The government is also planning a meeting with the construction industry to discuss building more shelters for the refugees.

A new reception center is also set to open in Rosslare to meet the demand from refugees arriving at Wexford Harbour.

There has been a significant increase in people arriving in Rosslare from Ukraine in recent days and the new hub will provide information on services and benefits for those arriving from the war-torn Eastern European country.

The hub will offer services similar to those already offered at Dublin and Cork airports.

Yesterday, Higher Education Minister Simon Harris announced that 1,000 student accommodation places have been offered by universities in hopes of helping with the refugee crisis.

The minister also said that Ukrainian students will be able to continue their studies in higher education when they arrive in Ireland.

“We are also making arrangements that every Ukrainian student is treated in the same way as an Irish student in terms of access to student support and student grants,” he said.

He said the other “big issue” his department is working on is introducing English classes for refugees.

Treasury Secretary Paschal Donohoe said the government will do everything in its power to ensure financial constraints do not affect “how our country responds to these tremendous humanitarian needs”.

“We will mobilize all the resources that are available to us,” he said. “But it means the government has to be open and honest about the fact that we won’t be able to meet every other need that we want to respond to.

“[This is] because the need to respond to the humanitarian needs we face will be so important.” Pensioners hosting war refugees ‘will receive welfare benefits’

Fry Electronics Team

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