How to claim the Fuel Allowance in Ireland

If you get a social welfare allowance and struggle to pay your winter energy bills, you could be eligible for some extra help. Here’s how to claim the Fuel Allowance.

What is it?

The Fuel Allowance helps people on social welfare with the cost of heating their homes during winter.

It’s usually paid weekly, but if you are on certain benefits you can claim it in two lump sums.

You can get the Fuel Allowance in addition to the Household Benefits Package.

How much do you get?

Fuel Allowance payments have gone up by €5 this year and will be €33 per week for 2021-2022.

You’ll receive your allowance as either:

  • a weekly payment, currently €33 per week, or
  • two lump sums paid in October and January

Apply in September to gain the full benefit because claims later in the season are not backdated.

When is the allowance paid?

The exact date changes each year, but it usually starts in early autumn and lasts until late spring.

Weekly payments will be on the same day you get your pension or social welfare payments.

If you opt for two lump sums, these are usually paid in the first week of October and the second week of January.

The Fuel Allowance 2021-22 started on 27th September 2021 and is expected to run for 28 weeks until April 2022.

Who can get the Fuel Allowance?

Whether you’re eligible depends on three main factors:

  • The social welfare payments you’re getting: You need to be claiming certain welfare payments to get the Fuel Allowance. For example, State pension, Disability Allowance, One parent family payment or Farm Assist. You can check the site for the full list of qualifying allowances.
  • Who you live with: For example, a spouse, dependent children and other people who qualify for the allowance are all permitted. If you live with someone who can afford to pay for your energy bills you may not be able to claim. Here’s the full list of approved living arrangements.
  • Affordability: You can only claim if you’re unable to meet the cost of your energy bills on your own. If you have significant savings for example you may not qualify for the Fuel Allowance.

How do you check eligibility?

There are lots of circumstances that may mean you’re not eligible for the fuel allowance, check here before you apply.

You must declare your income and savings as this may affect your entitlement to the allowance. Check the income limits and saving amounts.

Changes made in October 2021 mean that those on the basic supplementary welfare allowance will only have to wait 12 months before they qualify instead of the current 15 months. The income thresholds for pensioners will also increase, so more people can claim the fuel allowance.

What if more than one person in your household qualifies?

Only one Fuel Allowance will be paid per household.

If two or more people qualify, you should check which one of you should apply for the allowance.

How to claim

If you haven’t claimed for the Fuel Allowance before, you can either:

  • Complete an application form on the site.
  • Collect an application form (NFS 1) from your local post office.
  • Request a form by texting FORM FUEL followed by your name and address to 51909.

You must send the completed form to the correct address and this will depend on which qualifying allowance you receive. Check where to apply here.

You can nominate a bank or building society account for your Fuel Allowance to be paid into or choose to collect payments from the post office.

If you’re receiving a social welfare payment, the Fuel Allowance will be added to your usual weekly payment.

If you’ve been receiving the Fuel Allowance and your circumstances haven’t changed, you don’t need to reapply.

How to change to weekly payments or lump sums

To change the frequency of your Fuel Allowance payments to weekly or lump sums you can either:

If you opt for lump sum payments after the first payment has been made, you’ll continue to get weekly payments until the next lump sum is due.

Other ways to save on your energy bills

If you’re looking for smart ways to save money, take a look at our Top energy saving tips and What help can I get with my energy bills?

There are also bigger ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home e.g. solar power and insulation, and you may be eligible for a home energy grant from the SEAI to help fund the work.

Take a look at our Building Energy Rating (BER) guide which includes ways to boost your home’s energy rating and save money on your bills.

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