Social welfare payments for Ukrainian refugees already in Ireland could be cut - Humphreys

New arrivals from Ukraine receive €38.80 but those here before new rate introduced still entitled to €220 jobseekers’ allowance

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys has signalled that the Government may, at some future stage, reduce social welfare payments for Ukrainian refugees already in Ireland, having already announced a cut for new arrivals.

Speaking in the Dáil on Wednesday, she said: “I think it could well be the case that down the road we may have to make the decision that anybody in State-provided accommodation, regardless of what date they arrived, that they will only receive a payment of €38.80.”

Cabinet approved new measures at the end of last year setting out that Ukrainian refugees arriving into Ireland will only be provided with accommodation by the State for 90 days.

While in State accommodation they will receive a reduced rate of social welfare equivalent to the amount paid to other asylum seekers housed by the State, which stands at €38.80 per week. However, the 100,000 Ukrainian refugees already here will not be affected by the new measures, which are expected to come into effect next month, and will continue to be entitled to the €220 per week jobseekers’ allowance.


Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire had put forward amendments to the Government’s legislation setting out to link the €38.80 rate to a person’s date of arrival rather than to the fact they were staying in designated accommodation.

Ms Humphreys said if the €38.80 rate was linked “explicitly” to the date of arrival, “it would mean that we could not in the future look at reducing the payments for those who are already here and in State-provided accommodation”.

The minister said the temporary directive was due to end at the end of March 2025.

“As we look ahead to that, and start to plan for what happens afterwards, I don’t think we should tie our hands by saying that once you arrived here after a certain date you’re guaranteed State-provided accommodation and full social welfare payment indefinitely. If you’re here before a date that’s the situation at the minute,” she said.

Ms Humphreys said it was important that “we do retain some level of flexibility here”.

Regarding the changes, the minister said the Government was trying to bring Ireland into line with other European countries and ensure that “Ireland was not seen as a more attractive destination than any of the other European countries”.

Ms Humphreys said Ireland had not been found wanting when it came to supporting Ukrainians and “put roofs over the heads of 75,000 Ukrainians”.

“I think we have done everything we could to assist them in the awful plight they have and had,” she said.

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Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times