The Fuel Allowance is a payment to help with the cost of heating homes. It is paid to people who are dependant on long-term social welfare or HSE payments.
Fuel Allowance Dates
The Fuel Allowance scheme normally operates for 28 weeks . For the 2020/2021 period, it will run from the 28th September 2020 to Friday 9th April 2021.
The weekly Fuel Allowance Payments will begin in the last week of September and they are paid on the same day as your usual pension or benefit. (Unless you have opted for lump-sum payments.)
If you apply for the Fuel Allowance after 28th September 2020 – it will not be backdated.
How Much is the Fuel Allowance?
The Fuel Allowance payment is €24.50 a week. Over the full 28 weeks – this amounts to €686 in total. It may be increased in Budget 2021.
The Fuel Allowance season was extended by 4 weeks in 2019/20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Winter Fuel Allowance costs the State around €230 Million . It is paid to approximately 364,000 households.
Fuel allowance claimants have the option of receiving the Fuel Allowance in 2 lump sums instead of weekly payments. The first lump sum of €343 will be paid in the first week of October 2020. The second will be paid in the 2nd week of January 2021 and will also be €343.
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The winter fuel allowance is paid on top of any payment from the “Household Benefit Package” .
Under the Household Benefit scheme, about 400,00 people receive €35 a month towards electricity OR gas all year round. That works out at €420 a year per claimant. (A total of €168 million paid out a year)
Typical average household Electricity bills are currently €1035 a year – based on Electric Ireland’s standard rates.
If a person qualifies for both the Fuel Allowance and the Living Alone allowance then they should also get the Telephone Support Allowance of€2.50 a week.
Who Qualifies for the Fuel Allowance?
You do not need to reapply for the Fuel Allowance each year as long as, your circumstances remain the same and you continue to get the same social welfare payment(s). People on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will not be eligible for the Fuel Allowance – unless the rules are changed in Budget 2021.
If more than one person in a household qualifies for fuel allowance then only one payment can be made.
Invalidity Pension , Pre-Retirement Pension, Disability Allowance
Incapacity Supplement ,Widow’s or Widower’s (Contributory) Pension
Widow’s (Non-Contributory) Pension , Deserted Wife’s Benefit or Allowance
State Pension (Contributory or Non-Contributory) State Pension (Transition)
Blind Pension , Prisoners Wife’s Allowance
One-Parent Family Payment
Supplementary Welfare Allowance for more than 15 months
Jobseeker’s Allowance for more than 15 months
Jobseeker’s Transitional payment
Back to Work Allowance, Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA), Rural Social Scheme, Tús or Community Employment (and are entitled to keep your secondary benefits).
You will NOT qualify for a Fuel Allowance if:
- You live with someone who is not getting one of the qualifying payments for the Winter Fuel Allowance. Or
- You are on a contributory payment and have weekly income above the means test limits (see below) : –
- The assessable income limit in 2020/21 for a single person under 80 is €348.30
- The income limit for a couple (where the qualified adult is under 66) is €513.70
- The assessable income limit for a couple (where the qualified adult is 66 or over) is €570.80
Paper application forms should also be available from local post offices.
For more details, you can contact the National Fuel Scheme, Social Welfare Services, College Road, Sligo. Tel:(071) 915 7100 . See Here too
Exceptional Needs : Under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) scheme, a Heating Supplement may be paid to assist people in certain circumstances that have special heating needs.
If a recipient of a social welfare payment has exceptional heating costs due to ill health, infirmity or a medical condition which he/she is unable to meet out of household income, they can apply for a Heating Supplement. You must be living alone or only with a dependent adult or dependent children and satisfy a means test.
Decisions on applications for a Heating Supplement are determined by local Community Welfare Service staff.
Anyone on low-income may also be eligible for financial help to get their home insulated. See these articles below for more details.
One sure way to cut your energy bills is to take advantage of the special discounts and cashback offers that most energy suppliers are offering to switchers. See our page on the Cheapest Switching Deals