The Fuel Allowance is a payment to help with the cost of heating homes. It is paid to people who are dependent on long-term social welfare or HSE payments.
More People Can Qualify for Fuel Allowance in 2023
In Budget 2023 it was announced that there would be an increase in the means test for Fuel Allowance for those aged over 70. The new means test for over 70s is €500 a week for singles, and €1,000 per week for a couple from Jan 2023.
That will mean that a couple with one over 70 could have a weekly income of up to €1000 a week and still get fuel allowance . (More details of the changes below)
How Much is the Fuel Allowance?
The Fuel Allowance payment is currently €33 per week. It was increased in Budget 2022 from €28 a week with effect from October 13th 2021. (It was €28 a week for the first 2 weeks of October).
The Winter Fuel Allowance usually costs the State around €240 Million a year . It is paid to approximately 365,000 households.
Extra Fuel Allowance Lump Sums in 2022
Due to increasing energy costs – the government paid an extra €125 lump sum to all fuel allowance recipients in March 2022. A second extra lump sum payment of the fuel allowance of €100 was paid out in mid-May 2022.In Budget 2023 , it was announced that all fuel allowance claimants would receive another one-off lump sum of €400 in November 2022. This payment was made in the week beginning November 14th 2022.
More Help With Electricity Bills :
Because of increasing energy prices – the Government gave every household in Ireland €200 credit on their Electricity accounts between April and June 2022.
This one-off payment was nothing to do with the Fuel Allowance – it was not means-tested and was paid to every household with an electric meter.
More details here on the Government Energy Credit
Further Electricity credit payments were announced in Budget 2023. There will be a total of €600 paid in 3 payments of €200 each in November , January 2023 and March 2023 .
Start and End Dates Of the Fuel Allowance 2022/2023
The Fuel Allowance scheme currently operates for 28 weeks .
- The 2022/23 Fuel Allowance start date was Monday 26th September 2022
- The Fuel allowance end date in 2023 is expected to be Friday 7th April 2023.
Over the full 28 weeks – this will amount to a payment total of €924 . (2022/2023) .
If you apply for the Fuel Allowance after 26th September 2022 – it will not be backdated.
Fuel Allowance Payment Dates 2023
The weekly Fuel Allowance Payments started in the last week of September 2022 and they are paid on the same day as your usual weekly pension or benefit. (Unless you have opted for lump-sum payments.)
The final weekly fuel allowance payment is due to be made in the second week of April 2023.
Fuel allowance claimants can also receive the Fuel Allowance in 2 lump sums instead of weekly payments.
The first lump sum of €462 was paid in the last week of September 2022.
The second lump sum of €462 (14 weeks at €33 per week) was due in the 1st week of January 2023
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An average household could easily save in the region of €400 in just one year on electricity and gas
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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 €2177 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).
If more than one person in a household qualifies for fuel allowance then only one payment can be made.
You will NOT qualify for a Fuel Allowance if:
- You have weekly assessable income above the age-related means test limits (see below) : –
You may qualify for the Fuel Allowance if you are over 70, OR are in receipt of ANY of these social welfare payments below.
- 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 12 months.
- Jobseeker’s Allowance for more than 12 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).
New Rules for 2023
Over 70s : From January 2023 , people over 70 will no longer need to be in receipt of one of the qualifying social welfare payments listed above to be eligible for the Fuel Allowance.
Means Test for Fuel Allowance
The means test for over 70s increased from January 2023 – so if you are 70 or over and didn’t qualify before , you may qualify in 2023.
Increased Income Limits From January 2023
- From Jan 2023 – The assessable income limit for a single person under 70 is €453.30.
- The assessable income limit for a couple (where the qualified adult is under 66 ) is €622.70.
- The assessable income limit for a couple (where the qualified adult is 66 or over) is €680.30
- From Jan 2023 – The assessable income limit for a single person aged 70 or over is €500
- From Jan 2023 – The assessable income limit for a couple (where the qualified adult is 70 or over) is €1000
In addition, from January 2023 – the amount of savings that are disregarded in the means assessment for the Fuel Allowance for people aged over 70 was more than doubled to €50,000. (It used to be €20,000)
Several types of income are not counted when working out the “assessable income” – so it might be worth applying even if your total income is over the thresholds given above.
Online applications can be made at MyWelfare.ie
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
Telephone : (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.
Grants for Insulation
Anyone on a 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 Dual Fuel Deals