Energy

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 extra help. Here’s how to claim the Fuel Allowance.

What is the Fuel Allowance?

Fuel Allowance helps cover the cost of heating your home if you’re on social welfare payments. 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?

For 2023-24 the Fuel Allowance is €33 per week and is worth €924 over 28 weeks. Apply in September to get the full benefit because claims aren’t backdated.

You’ll receive your allowance as either:

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

When is the allowance paid?

Fuel Allowance 2023-24 starts on 25th September 2023 and runs for 28 weeks until April 2024.

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 September and January.

Who can get the Fuel Allowance?

Eligibility for Fuel Allowance depends on the type of welfare payments you receive and other factors:

  • 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 is your income assessed?

Fuel Allowance is a means-tested payment. In a means test, your total weekly income must be below a certain amount to qualify for the allowance.

The income you’re allowed to have for Fuel Allowance is the current maximum rate of the contributory state pension including any additional benefits you may get for your age, living alone and dependants,

If you are already getting a qualifying social assistance payment, you will usually qualify for Fuel Allowance.

In January 2023, the thresholds for means testing changed, meaning what you can save, earn or claim before qualifying increased.

  • For the under 70s the weekly allowable amount above the applicable state pension rate increased from €120 to €200.
  • For the over 70s, the weekly allowable sum rose to €500 for one person and €1,000 for a couple. Over 70s are now allowed savings of €50,000, up from €20,000.

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.

In January 2023, Disablement Benefit and Half-rate Carer’s Allowance was disregarded in the means test for Fuel Allowance.

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:

  1. Complete an online application at mywelfare.ie.
  2. Collect form NFS 1 or NFS2-O/70 from your local post office or download from gov.ie

If you’re applying using a paper application form, you need to send the completed form to the department you get your social welfare payment from. The address will depend on which qualifying allowance you receive. Check where to send your form at Gov.ie.

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

How is it paid?

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.

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 get help with bills or save on energy costs, take a look at our guides:

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

If you’re eligible for 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 and save you money in the long run.

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