Help after a flood

The Department of Social Protection’s Humanitarian Assistance Scheme provides means-tested emergency financial help immediately following flooding. It does not provide compensation for damage. The amount paid depends on how severe the damage is and your ability to meet these costs. The DSP also provides exceptional and urgent needs payments which can help in the aftermath of a flood.

The Irish Red Cross Society is administering two schemes to provide emergency humanitarian support. One will provide help to small businesses (under 20 employees) that were unable to secure flood insurance and have been flooded following recent storms (on or after 4 December 2015). The scheme aims to give help towards the costs of returning business premises to their pre-flood condition including the replacement of flooring, fixtures and fittings and damaged stock. The scheme will not provide a contribution to loss of earnings or loss of business good-will.

The second gives temporary emergency humanitarian support to community, voluntary and sporting bodies affected by flooding during the period between December 2015 and January 2016. The scheme covers damage to buildings, contents or equipment for organisations that could not secure flood insurance.

You can find out more about both schemes and how to apply from the Irish Red Cross. The closing date for both schemes is Sunday 31 January 2016. 

The Department of Agriculture’s Assistance scheme provides support for farmers including support for animal welfare, temporary relaxation of the rules around moving livestock and special arrangements around flooding of slurry tanks. A new Fodder Aid Scheme 2016 is also available for farmers who have had fodder losses as a result of severe flooding.

You can contact your local Department of Agriculture Office, the Animal Welfare Helpline: 0761 06 4404 or (01) 607 2379 or your Teagasc advisor on the Teagasc Advisory Helpline: 0761 11 3355 to find out  more.

Revenue has announced provisions to help people who have been affected by flooding. If your home has been flooded and you are getting help from the Humanitarian Assistance Scheme, you can apply to have your 2016 LPT payment deferred (even if you do not qualify for deferral under the normal criteria). Contact the LPT Helpline on 1890 200 255 to make the relevant arrangements.

If your business premises have been damaged by floods and you are getting help from the Government Support for Small Business Fund, via the Red Cross, you should contact the Collector-General’s office on 1890 20 30 70 to agree additional time to file returns and make payments or to agree suitable phased payment arrangements.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) has a website, flooding.ie, that gives information about what to do before, during and after a flood. Visit flooding.ie to find out more.

The HSE has information on cleaning a home after flooding and the psychological effects of flooding.

There are two leaflets giving details of the help available:

Know your rights: The Housing Assistance Payment // An Íocaíocht Cúnaimh Tithíochta

Question

 What is the Housing Assistance Payment?

Answer (December 2015)

The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a form of housing support for people who have a long-term housing need. It is administered by local authorities and will eventually replace long-term Rent Supplement. You must be on the local authority’s housing list – which means that you qualify for social housing support – to be eligible for HAP.

Under the HAP scheme local authorities pay landlords directly and tenants pay a differential rent to the local authority. This is based on your income and your ability to pay. If you take up a job or increase your working hours, you will still be eligible for HAP provided you meet the other conditions of the scheme. If you are getting a social welfare payment at a post office, you must pay your HAP rent to your local authority through the Household Budget Scheme.

People on the housing list who are already renting and getting Rent Supplement can apply for HAP, but you do not have to be getting Rent Supplement in order to qualify. People who are on the housing list and currently getting Rent Supplement will be transferred to HAP on a phased basis.

You must find your own private rented accommodation. Although the local authority administers the HAP scheme, you will not be a local authority tenant. The rental agreement will be between yourself and the private landlord. This means that you will have certain rights and obligations, as will your landlord.

The rent must be within the HAP rent limits for your household size and the area you live in. The limits are generally based on the limits for Rent Supplement. Additional flexibility has been provided beyond the limits in some local authority areas and for some qualified households where suitable accommodation cannot be found for a household within the HAP rent limits.

If your landlord requires a deposit, you will have to pay this yourself – the local authority will not pay it for you. You may be able to get an Exceptional Needs Payment from the Department of Social Protection to help with paying the deposit.

Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.

Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.

Ceist

Cad í an Íocaíocht Cúnaimh Tithíochta?

Freagra

Foirm de thacaíocht tithíochta is an Íocaíocht Cúnaimh Tithíochta (ÍCT) do dhaoine a bhfuil riachtanas fadtéarmach tithíochta acu. Riarann údaráis áitiúla an íocaíocht agus tiocfaidh sí in ionad an Fhorlíonta Cíosa fhadtéarmaigh ar deireadh thiar. Ní mór go bhfuil tú ar liosta tithíochta an údaráis áitiúil – a chiallaíonn go bhfuil tú cáilithe do thacaíocht tithíochta sóisialta – le bheith incháilithe don ÍCT.

Faoin scéim ÍCT, íocann údaráis áitiúla tiarnaí talún go díreach agus íocann tionóntaí cíos difreálach leis an údarás áitiúil. Bunaítear seo ar d’ioncam agus ar an gcumas atá agat chun é a íoc. Má ghlacann tú le post nó le méadú ar d’uaireanta oibre, beidh tú fós incháilithe do ÍCT, a fhad agus a chomhlíonann tú coinníollacha eile na scéime. Má tá íocaíocht leasa shóisialaigh á fáil agat ag oifig an phoist, ní mór duit do chíos ÍCT a íoc le d’údarás áitiúil tríd an Scéim Buiséad Teaghlaigh.

Beidh daoine atá ar an liosta tithíochta a bhfuil áit chónaithe ar cíos cheana féin acu agus a bhfuil Forlíonadh Cíosa á fháil cheana féin acu i dteideal iarratas a dhéanamh ar ÍCT, ach ní mór go bhfuil Forlíonadh Cíosa á fháil agat chun cáiliú. Aistreofar daoine atá ar an liosta tithíochta a bhfuil Forlíonadh Cíosa á fháil acu go dtí ÍCT ar bhonn céimnitheach.

Ní mór duit do chóiríocht phríobháideach féin a aimsiú. Cé go riarann an t-údarás áitiúil an scéim ÍCT, ní bheidh tú i do thionónta údaráis áitiúil. Beidh an comhaontú cíosa idir tú féin agus an tiarna talún príobháideach. Ciallaíonn seo go mbeidh cearta agus dualgais áirithe agat, agus beidh amhlaidh ag do thiarna talún.

Ní mór go bhfuil an cíos laistigh de theorainneacha cíosa ÍCT i leith an lín daoine atá i do theaghlach agus an cheantair ina gcónaíonn tú. Tá an teorainneacha bunaithe go ginearálta ar na teorainneacha d’Fhorlíonadh Cíosa. Soláthraíodh solúbthacht bhreise a sháraíonn na teorainneacha i roinnt limistéir údaráis áitiúil agus i dtaobh roinnt teaghlaigh cháilithe, áit nach féidir teacht ar chóiríocht oiriúnach do theaghlach laistigh de theorainneacha cíosa ÍCT.

Má theastaíonn éarlais ó do thiarna talún, beidh ort seo a íoc tú féin – ní íocfaidh an t-údarás áitiúil duit í. B’fhéidir go mbeidh tú in ann Íocaíocht ar Riachtanais Eisceachtúla a fháil chun cabhrú leis an éarlais a íoc.

Safefood advice on cooking your Christmas turkey

Every year some of the most googled terms on Christmas Day are ‘cooking times’ and ‘turkey’.

The basic rules are:

  • For turkeys up to 8 kgs allow 15 – 20 minutes per 0.5kg
  • For turkeys over 8 kgs allow 10 – 15 minutes per 0.5kg

Safefood have a useful infographic that not only tells you how long to cook your turkey for but also how much you will need for different numbers of people.

And if you have leftovers, get tips and recipes from Bord Bia.

Happy Christmas!

Know your rights: Paying the Local Property Tax // An Cháin Mhaoine Áitiúil a íoc

Question

I paid my Local Property Tax in monthly instalments from my wages last year. However I’d like to pay it in a single lump sum payment next year. How do I find out how much is due and how can I change my payment method?

Answer (December 2015)

Your Local Property Tax (LPT) is based on the valuation of your property on 1 May 2013. The rate you pay for 2016 may vary from the 2015 rate, because of the local adjustment factor. This means that the basic LPT rates can be adjusted up or down by up to15% in different local authority areas. Revenue’s online calculator allows you to check how much LPT is payable in different local authority areas. The calculator is available on revenue.ie.

If your local authority has adjusted the basic rate and this is different from what you paid in 2015, you will get a letter from Revenue informing you of this. You can also check how much LPT you owe for 2016 by accessing your LPT record online on revenue.ie using your PPS number, Property ID and PIN.

In your case, you must contact Revenue by 7 January 2016 to change your payment method and arrange to pay in full in one lump sum. The easiest way to do this is to use the LPT online system. If you need help with the online system, you can call the LPT helpline on 1890 200 255. You can pay using any of the following methods:

You can also pay by cheque or postal order (this option is not available online).

Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.

Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.

Ceist

D’íoc mé mo Cháin Mhaoine Áitiúil i dtráthchodanna míosúla ó mo phá anuraidh. Ba mhian liom an cháin a íoc in íocaíocht singil chnapshuime an bhliain seo chugainn, áfach. Conas a dheimhním cé mhéid atá le híoc agus conas is féidir liom mo mhodh íocaíochta a athrú?

Freagra

Bunaítear do Cháin Mhaoine Áitiúil (CMÁ) ar luacháil do mhaoine amhail an 1 Bealtaine 2013. D’fhéadfadh an ráta a íocann tú le haghaidh 2016 bheith éagsúil ó ráta 2015, mar gheall ar an bhfachtóir coigeartaithe áitiúil. Ciallaíonn seo gur féidir na rátaí bunúsacha CMÁ a choigeartú aníos nó anuas a mhéid le 15% i limistéir éagsúla údaráis áitiúil.

Anuas air sin, féadfaidh tú áireamhán ar líne na gCoimisinéirí Ioncaim a úsáid lena sheiceáil cé mhéid CMÁ atá iníoctha i limistéir éagsúla údaráis áitiúil.

Tá an t-áireamhán ar fáil ar revenue.ie.

Má rinne d’údarás áitiúil an bunráta a choigeartú agus más éagsúil seo uaidh sin a d’íoc tú in 2015, gheobhaidh tú litir ó na Coimisinéirí Ioncaim a chuireann tú ar an eolas air seo. Chomh maith leis sin, féadfaidh tú a sheiceáil cé mhéid CMÁ atá le híoc agat don bhliain 2016 trí do thaifead CMÁ ar líne a rochtain ar líne ag revenue.ie agus d’Uimhir PSP, Uimhir Aitheantas Maoine agus d’Uimhir Aitheantais Phearsanta a úsáid.

I do chás féin, ní mór duit teagmháil a dhéanamh leis na Coimisinéirí Ioncaim faoin 7 Eanáir 2016 chun do mhodh íocaíochta a athrú agus a shocrú chun íocaíocht iomlán a dhéanamh i gcnapshuim amháin. Is é an bealach is fusa chun seo a dhéanamh ná an córas CMÁ ar líne a úsáid. Má theastaíonn cúnamh uait leis an gcóras ar líne, is féidir leat glao ar an líne chabhrach CMÁ ar 1890 200 255. Féadfaidh tú íoc trí aon cheann de na modhanna a leanas a úsáid.

Chomh maith leis sin, féadfaidh tú íoc le seic nó le hordú poist (níl an rogha seo ar fáil ar líne).

Opening hours over Christmas

Citizens Information Board

The Citizens Information Board will be closed on Friday 25 and Monday 28 December and on Friday 1 January 2015.

Citizens Information Phone Service (CIPS)

CIPS can be contacted on 0761 07 4000.

Monday 21 December – Wednesday 23 December Open – 9am – 8pm
Thursday 24th December – Tuesday 29th December  Closed
Wednesday 30 December Open – 9am  – 5pm
Thursday 31 December Open – 9am  – 5pm
Friday 1 January 2016 Closed
Monday 4 January Normal service resumes (9am – 8pm)

Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS)

Check with your local service.

The MABS Helpline can be contacted on 0761 07 2000

It will be closed on Thursday 24 December, Friday 25 and Monday 28 December.

It will be open from Tuesday 29 December to Thursday 31 December from 9am to 5pm. It will be closed on Friday 1 January 2016.

Normal hours of 9am-8pm will be resumed from Monday 4 January.

Citizens Information Services

Check with your local Citizens Information Centre.

Public service opening hours over the Christmas period

The Department of Social Protection has published arrangements for social welfare payments and office opening hours. Most DSP customers will have had an advance payment for the week starting 21 December paid in the previous week.

Revenue arrangements for the period are available on revenue.ie. Correspondence (including faxes and emails) submitted over the holiday period will be dealt with as soon as possible. Revenue’s online services for business (ROS) and myAccount will be available during the holiday period.

Workplace Relations Customer Service has published details of the opening times for their phone lines (1890 80 80 90 and 059 917 8990) over Christmas and New Year. 

The HSE also publishes useful information on keeping healthy and warm over Christmas.The HSE Infoline opening hours are online at hse.ie. 

Connect counselling, funded by the HSE, is a free and confidential telephone-based counselling and support service for adults who were abused in childhood. The service will be available over Christmas and the details of opening hours are online at hse.ie. 

New dedicated mortgage arrears service from the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS)

If you’re behind in your mortgage payments, you may be worried about losing your home.

Talk to your lender. If you can’t – talk to MABS.

MABS now has a dedicated confidential, free, and independent mortgage arrears service.

MABS is a one-stop-shop for mortgage debt advice and referral.

No matter what your situation is, MABS will help you work out the next steps.

Take control of what happens next.

Call MABS today on 0761 07 2000 for independent information, advice and referral.

It’s International Migrants Day

To mark this year’s International Migrants Day on December 18, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is calling on the international community to come together and remember the refugees and migrants who have tragically lost their lives this year.

A global Candlelight Vigil will be held today to commemorate the lives that have been lost or have disappeared while trying to reach safe harbour after arduous journeys across seas and deserts in 2015.

You can visit the UN’s website to find out more about migrants and refugees or visit iamamigrant.org to read migrant stories in their own words.

Corporal punishment of children

Legal changes aimed at banning corporal punishment or use of force against children came into law on Friday 11 December 2015. From that date a person who physically punishes a child can no longer rely on the defence of ‘reasonable chastisement’ in the courts. No new offence has been created and there are no laws that ban the smacking of children. However the withdrawal of the reasonable chastisement defence means that an effective ban is in place.

You can visit Parenting24Seven, an online resource from Tusla to find out what works best for children and families at different stages of childhood and in different situations.