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?

If you’re on social welfare, Fuel Allowance helps cover the cost of heating your home. 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 is €33 per week for 2021-2022. Apply in September to get the full benefit, as claims made after that aren’t backdated.

You’ll receive it as either:

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

In November 2022, as part of the cost of living package, you can also get a one-off sum of €400 in addition to your regular payments.

From January 2023, Fuel Allowance will become more widely available, too. The weekly income threshold will increase from €120 to €200, and for the over 70s, it will rise to €500 for one person and €1,000 for a couple.

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.

Fuel Allowance 2022-23 started on 26th September 2022 and is expected to run for 28 weeks until April 2023.

Who can get the Fuel Allowance?

Eligibility depends on:

  • Social welfare payments: 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 Gov.ie site for the full list of qualifying allowances.
  • Who you live with: 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 a number of circumstances that mean you’re ineligible for the fuel allowance. Check the guidelines before you apply.

If your income and savings are too high, you might not be successful. Read the income limits and saving amounts for more information.

From January 2023, Disablement Benefit and Half-rate Carer’s Allowance will be disregarded in the means test for 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 applied for the Fuel Allowance before, you can either:

  • Complete an application form on the Gov.ie 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. The address will depend on which qualifying allowance you receive. Check where to apply here.

You can request that the allowance go directly into your bank, credit union or building society or you can collect it from the post office, along with any social welfare payments.

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

How to change your payment method

To change the frequency of your Fuel Allowance to a weekly, or lump sum payment you can:

If you opt for a lump sum 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

For other ways to save on energy costs, take a look at our Top energy saving tips and What help can I get with my energy bills?

Increasing the energy efficiency of your home will also save you money in the long run. If you’re on Fuel Allowance, you could be eligible for a free home energy upgrade from the SEAI. They’ll cover the cost of things like solar panels or attic insulation, which will make your home warmer.

You can also read our Building Energy Rating (BER) guide which includes ways to boost your home’s energy rating and save money on bills.

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