The Household Benefits Package is a package of allowances which help you with the costs of running your household. The package is available to people aged over 70 and to people under age 70 in certain circumstances. You must be living in the State. Only one person in a household can qualify for the package at any time. If you are renting your home, your landlord must provide written confirmation that you are a tenant (including the MPRN or GPRN of the address you are living at) and confirm that you are paying your own energy bills.
There are various commercial websites that allow you to compare energy prices. The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) accredits cost comparison websites if they meet certain standards. You can check accredited websites on energycustomers.ie.
Water charges are being introduced from the last quarter of 2014. From January 2015 the Household Benefits Package will include a new Water Support payment. This will be €100 each year (made up of four equal payments of €25). The Water Support payment will be paid to everyone who qualifies for the Household Benefits Package (including people who are not customers of Irish Water and have their own water supply or are members of a group scheme). If you are currently getting the Household Benefit Package and get your allowance as a credit on your bill the Department of Social Protection does not hold payment details for you. In September 2014 the DSP is contacting such customers to ask them to complete a form with their bank account information. The Water Support payment can also be paid in the post office.
There are 2 allowances in the Household Benefits Package:
The Telephone Allowance was discontinued from 1 January 2014. The value of the allowance was €9.50 per month per household. Read FAQs about this change on welfare.ie.
If you have an electricity or natural gas supply, you must choose either the Electricity Allowance or the Natural Gas Allowance.
The Electricity Allowance is a cash credit paid to you each month. This change will be automatically applied to your bill if you are an Electric Ireland customer. This will be shown as €35 per month credit on your Electric Ireland bill.
Following approval of your application for an Electricity Allowance, the Department notifies Electric Ireland, who will apply the allowance, including any backdated credit, on your next or subsequent bill. The allowance is paid directly to Electric Ireland. You must pay in the normal way for any electricity you use above the allowance.
If your electricity provider is not Electric Ireland, your Electricity Allowance is paid directly to you to use towards your electricity bill. In this case, the allowance can be paid into your bank account or at your local post office.
If you are already getting an Electricity Allowance and change your electricity provider, you do not need to reapply. Your Electricity Allowance will continue to be paid – either as a credit to your bill with Electric Ireland or as a cash payment with other suppliers.
You may qualify for a monthly Cash Electricity Allowance of €35.00 if you are living in self-contained accommodation (a flat or apartment), and:
The Cash Electricity Allowance is paid on the first Tuesday of each month to an account in a financial institution, for example, a bank or, if you have a social welfare services card, through your local post office. (Note that if you are being paid through a post office, using a social welfare services card, you have 56 days to collect your payment.)
Depending on your supplier the Natural Gas Allowance of €35.00 can be paid as a cash credit on your gas bill or on the first Tuesday of each month to an account in a financial institution or a post office.
The Allowance does not cover the cost of installing a natural gas supply to your home.
If the Allowance is paid as a credit on your gas bill, the Department notifies your gas provider, who will apply the allowance, including any backdated credit, on your second gas bill after that date.
You must satisfy some conditions to qualify for the Natural Gas Allowance. You must show proof that you are the registered consumer on the energy bills (MPRN/GPRN). If you are renting and the utility bill is in the landlord’s name, your landlord must provide written confirmation (including the MPRN or GPRN of the address you are living at) that you are a tenant and are paying your own energy bills.
If your home is not connected to an electricity or natural gas supply but you satisfy the conditions of the scheme, you can get the Cash Gas Allowance of €35.
You can also claim a Cash Gas Allowance if you use gas which is not delivered through the national grid. For example, in some areas a gas tank may provide gas to a number of individually-metered households. The Cash Gas Allowance is paid on the first Tuesday of each month to an account in a financial institution or a post office.
Your monthly allowance of €35 can be carried forward without restriction and can be drawn down at any stage, including if you wish to switch to a different energy provider.
Once you qualify for the Household Benefits Package, you become eligible for a Free Television Licence from the next renewal date of your television licence.
When you qualify for the Household Benefits Package, the Department issues you with a TV licence, and also notifies An Post of your entitlement to a free licence for as long as you are entitled to the Household Benefits Package.
You qualify for the Household Benefits Package if you are aged 70 or over. You do not need to be getting a pension and the package is not means tested. You also qualify if you are getting full-time Carer's Allowance (if you are living with the person you are caring for). Everyone getting the Household Benefits package must also meet general conditions (See 'General conditions for the Household Benefits Package' below).
You can also qualify for the Household Benefits Package if you meet one of the following conditions and live alone or only with excepted people (see 'Excepted people' below):
1. You are between 66 and 70 and are getting:
2. You are under 66 and are getting:
3. You are caring for a person who is getting Prescribed Relative's Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance
4. You are aged between 66 and 70 and satisfy a means test (see 'Means test' below).
Excepted people are:
You are considered to be living at your permanent address while you are having medical treatment in hospital provided your hospital stay is less than 13 consecutive weeks.
If you are widowed or a surviving civil partner aged between 60 and 65 and your late spouse or civil partner was getting any Household Benefit allowance from the Department of Social Protection and, before his or her death, you were permanently living together, you can qualify for the Household Benefits Package. If you were under 60 when your spouse or civil partner died this concession applies when you turn 60.
You must be getting:
You may have to show documentary evidence proving that your late spouse or civil partner was receiving an allowance under the Household Benefits Scheme.
If you are receiving Invalidity Pension, Disability Allowance or Blind Pension and you are receiving any Household Benefit allowance you may keep it if you transfer to another primary payment from the Department of Social Protection. This does not apply if you transfer to Jobseeker's Benefit/Allowance, Illness Benefit, One-Parent Family Payment and Carer's Benefit or if your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant claims for you as a qualified adult on their payment.
Note that in general if you transfer from any primary payment to become a qualified adult on your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant’s payment you lose your entitlement to the Household Benefits Package (it will be paid to your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant if they qualify).
If you are aged between 66 and 70 and are not receiving a qualifying payment, you must satisfy a means test.
The means test involves calculating your appropriate weekly means limit. This limit is based on the current maximum rate of State Pension (Contributory) including increases for age, living alone, and adult/child dependants.
Your weekly income limit consists of the maximum rate of State Pension (Contributory) plus €100. Your weekly income limit is then compared to your weekly means as assessed in a means test.
If your weekly means are less than or equal to your weekly income limit, you satisfy the means test and qualify for the Household Benefits Package.
If you are applying for the Household Benefits Package on the basis of the means test, a separate means test questionnaire will be posted to you for completion.
If you change address and you still satisfy the conditions for the Household
Benefits Package, you must re-apply for the package.
|Elecricity Allowance||€35 monthly|
|Cash Electricity Allowance||€35 monthly|
|Natural Gas Allowance||€35 monthly|
|Cash Gas Allowance||€35 monthly|
|Television Licence||Once you qualify for the Household Benefits Package, you become eligible for a Free Television Licence from the next renewal date of your television licence.|
Return your completed application form to the Household Benefits Package
Social Welfare Services
Opening Hours:This office does not offer a service to personal callers. All queries must be made using the online enquiry form, by telephone or in writing.
Tel:(071) 915 7100
Locall:1890 500 000
You can email the Household Benefits Package section using the secure enquiry form. If you wish to talk to someone face-to-face about your entitlements, you can visit your local Citizens Information centre, social welfare local office or Intreo centre.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.