From January 2015 The Department of Social Protection will be paying out an extra €100 a year in Water Support payments as part of the Household Benefits package to help people with their water bills.
This €100 will only be paid to those who are entitled to the Household Benefits Package (This is most people over 65, carers and many of those on disability benefits). The water charge assistance for all recipients will amount to €41 Million .
About 410,000 people currently receive this Household Benefits package which includes the free TV licence and an amount towards gas or electricity bills.
Just over €8 Million a year of this Water Support payment will go to people who won’t be getting any bills from Irish Water.
From January an extra €25 a quarter will be paid out in “water support” payments. This amount will be paid even if the claimant does not get any bills from Irish Water. There are about 340,000 homes in Ireland that are not going to be customers of Irish Water because they have both their own water supply and waste water treatment system. That is around 20% of all the occupied homes in the country.
So – we can assume that 20% of the people who get this extra €100 a year will not be customers of Irish Water. That works out at 82,000 people – or €8.2 million a year overall. Of course – those 82,000 people will have other water related costs such as septic tank servicing and well maintenance which they can put this €100 towards.
The extra €100 a year for those who will be Irish Water customers will cover just over one third of a couple’s unmetered assessed water bill of €278. (See expected Assessed Water Charges Here )
Many people who get the Household Benefits package will be getting a letter from the Dept of Social Protection asking them for bank account/ post office account details so that the €100 can be paid out from January 2015.
This €100 extra on the Household Benefits package is the only proposed help towards water bills. People on Jobseekers allowance , student grants or single parents allowance etc. will not be getting any government help with their water bills. With the water charges possibly reaching as much as €700 a year for a 3 adult household – it will be a struggle for many households that rely on welfare benefits to pay their water bills. (See details of Metered Water Bills Here)