If you satisfy a number of conditions, you may qualify for the Household Benefits Package. This is a package of allowances which help you with the costs of running your household. You must be living in the State. Only one person in a household can qualify for the package at any time.
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.
From 1 January 2014 the Telephone Allowance was discontinued for existing and new recipients. The value of the allowance was €9.50 per month per household. The Free TV Licence and Electricity Allowance or Gas Allowance paid under the Household Benefits Package continue to be paid with no changes to rates.
In 2014 the annual payment to RTÉ for the Free TV Licence will reduce by €5 million to €54.17 million. This will not affect recipients who will continue to get a free TV licence.
There are 2 allowances in the Household Benefits Package:
The Telephone Allowance was discontinued from 1 January 2014.
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.
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-metred 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 may qualify for the Household Benefits Package if you are aged 70 or over or you are getting full-time Carer's Allowance (if you are living with the person you are caring for).
You may 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, prior to his/her death, you were permanently living together, you may now qualify for the allowances in the Household Benefits Package.
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 retain it if you transfer to another payment from the Department of Social Protection (excluding Jobseeker's Benefit/Allowance, Illness Benefit and Pre-Retirement Allowance, One-Parent Family Payment and Carer's Benefit).
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.