What is Fuel Allowance?
Fuel Allowance is a payment to help with the cost of heating your home during the winter months. It is paid to only one person in a household.
The Fuel Allowance season normally begins in late September of each year and ends in April. This year’s Fuel Allowance season started on Monday, 26 September 2022. It will be paid for 28 weeks (until 10 April 2023).
The current rate of Fuel Allowance is €33 per week. You can choose to get the Fuel Allowance paid every week or paid in 2 instalments (lump sums).
How to qualify for Fuel Allowance
To get Fuel Allowance you must:
- Live alone (or only with certain people listed below)
- Be getting a qualifying payment (unless you are 70 or over)
- Satisfy a means test
These 3 conditions are explained in detail below.
You must also live in Ireland. You cannot get Fuel Allowance if your heating costs are provided in full as part of your accommodation.
Who can I live with?
You must live alone or with:
- A spouse, civil partner or cohabitant who qualifies for an increase on your pension or social welfare payment or is getting a qualifying payment in their own right
- Dependent children
- A person who is getting Carer's Allowance or Carer's Benefit and is caring for you or for your spouse, partner or cohabitant on a full-time basis
- A person getting short-term Jobseeker's Allowance or basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance
- Other people who are getting a qualifying payment and who would be eligible for a Fuel Allowance in their own right
- A person aged 70 or over, subject to the means test (see below)
If more than one person in a household qualifies
Only one Fuel Allowance payment is paid to a household.
If more than one person in the household is getting a social assistance payment, you can decide who applies for Fuel Allowance.
If someone in the household is getting a qualifying social insurance payment, such as State Pension (Contributory) or Invalidity Pension, they should apply first (so a means test can be carried out on their income). Another qualifying person in the household can also apply for Fuel Allowance, but they must include information about the person getting a social insurance payment.
If someone in the household is 70 or over, they should apply.
Qualifying social welfare payments and pensions
If you are 70 or over, you don’t need a qualifying payment to qualify for Fuel Allowance.
Social welfare payments are either based on your PRSI contributions (social insurance payments) or means-tested social assistance payments.
Qualifying social insurance payments
- State Pension (Contributory)
- Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Contributory) Pension
- Incapacity Supplement under the Occupational Injuries Benefit scheme
- Invalidity Pension
- Guardian's Payment (Contributory)
- Death Benefit under the Occupational Injuries Scheme
- A pension or benefit from a country covered by EU Regulations or a country with which Ireland has a bilateral social security agreement (provided there is an equivalent Irish payment)
Qualifying social assistance payments
- State Pension (Non-Contributory)
- Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Non-Contributory) Pension
- Disability Allowance
- Blind Pension
- Deserted Wife's Benefit or Allowance
- One-Parent Family Payment (OFP)
- Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)
- Farm Assist
- Jobseeker's Transitional payment (JST)
Supplementary Welfare Allowance
You can qualify if you have been getting Basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance for more than a year (this is 364 days over 12 months - it is paid on a 7-day week basis so 12 months’ payment is reached after day 364).
You qualify if you have been getting Jobseeker's Allowance for more than 312 days (over 12 months - it is paid on a 6-day week basis so 12 months’ payment is reached after day 312). Days on Jobseeker's Benefit (JB) and PUP can count towards the 312 days, if your JB or PUP was immediately before your JA claim.
You can keep your Fuel Allowance if you move to Jobseeker’s Allowance from One Parent Family Payment , Carer’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Transitional payment.
Employment or education support schemes
If you are taking part in certain schemes you are entitled to keep your Fuel Allowance if you were getting it before you started the scheme.
These schemes include Back to Work Allowance, Back to Education Allowance, Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA), Rural Social Scheme, Tús and Community Employment.
How your income is assessed for Fuel Allowance
Fuel Allowance is a means-tested payment. This means that the Department of Social Protection (DSP) examines all your sources of income. Your gross weekly income must be below a certain amount to pass the means test.
You are usually accepted as passing the means test for Fuel Allowance, if you are getting a qualifying social assistance (means-tested) payment.
If you get a means-tested payment, you have already satisfied the means test and it does not need to be done again.
Social welfare income
Some social welfare payments are not counted in the means test:
- All social assistance payments are not counted
- If you get a social insurance payment and your spouse or partner gets a social assistance payment, the income from the social assistance payment is not counted
- Half-rate Carer’s Allowance is no longer counted (from January 2023)
- Disablement Benefit is no longer counted (from January 2023)
You can read the full list of payments that are disregarded (not counted).
Capital includes the value of savings, investments, shares or any property you have (but not your own home).
If you are under 70, the first €20,000 of your capital is not taken into account.
If you are 70 or over, the first €50,000 of your capital is not taken into account. Find out more about capital not included in the means test.
Capital is assessed by assuming an amount of weekly income for the capital you have above a certain figure.
Renting a room in your home
If you are renting out a room in your home, you can have an income from rent of up to €269.23 a week (€14,000 per year) without affecting your Fuel Allowance. The person renting the room in your home must use the room for a minimum of 28 consecutive days and cannot be an employee of yours or an immediate family member. The Accommodation Recognition Payment (for hosting people from Ukraine) is not taken into account in the means test
The person renting the room from you must be getting a qualifying social welfare payment or must qualify for a Fuel Allowance in their own right.
UK Winter Fuel Payment
Some UK pensioners living in Ireland may be eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment from the UK. However, the Winter Fuel Payment taken into account in the means test for Fuel Allowance.
Fuel Allowance income limit for people over 70
You should read how your income is assessed (above) before reading this section.
You can have income of up to €500 per week, or €1000 per week for a couple and still qualify for Fuel Allowance.
Your capital (savings, property and investments) are also assessed. The first €50,000 of your capital is not included in the means test.
Note that if one person in a couple is aged over 70, you will be assessed for Fuel Allowance using the over-70 means test criteria.
Fuel Allowance income limit for people under 70
If you are under 70, you must be getting a qualifying payment to apply for Fuel Allowance (see ‘Qualifying social welfare payments and pensions above’).
To qualify for Fuel Allowance, your total means from all sources must be less than the current maximum rate of State Pension (Contributory) including any increases that you might get for living alone and dependants, plus €200. This is called the assessable income limit.
From January 2023
The assessable income limit for a single person is €465.30 (€200 plus €265.30).
The assessable income limit for a couple (where the qualified adult is aged under 66) is €642 (€200 plus €265.30 plus €176.70).
The assessable income limit for a couple (where the qualified adult is aged 66 or over and under 70) is €703.10 (€200 plus €265.30 plus €237.80).
If one person in a couple is over 70, the over-70 means test is used so the assessable income limit is €1,000.
Rate of Fuel Allowance
The current weekly rate of Fuel Allowance is €33.
You can get your Fuel Allowance paid weekly or in 2 lump sum instalments.
Fuel Allowance is usually paid from the end of September to April each year for 28 weeks. In 2022-2023, the start date for Fuel Allowance was Monday, 26 September 2022. Fuel Allowance is included in your weekly payment, if you are getting a social welfare payment.
If you are not getting a social welfare payment, your Fuel Allowance can be paid directly into your account in a financial institution or you can collect it from your local post office.
Lump sum payments
In 2022-2023, the total Fuel Allowance payment over 28 weeks is €924.
It can be paid to you in 2 instalments (lump sums). The first instalment was paid in September 2022. The second will be paid in January 2023.
To change how your Fuel Allowance is paid, fill in the Change the Payment Frequency form (pdf) at least one month before the first instalment is due.
This instalment option is not available to people getting payments under the Rural Social Scheme, Tús, Gateway, Community Employment or Supplementary Welfare Allowance.
Telephone Support Allowance
How to apply for Fuel Allowance
If you apply for Fuel Allowance after the start of the Fuel Allowance season, it will not be backdated.
You do not need to reapply for Fuel Allowance each year as long as, your circumstances remain the same and you continue to get the same social welfare payment.
If you can’t apply online, you can use a paper application form
If you are aged under 70, fill in the NFS1 form to apply for fuel allowance (pdf).
If you are aged 70 or over, fill in the NFS2 form to apply for fuel allowance (pdf).
You can also get a form from your local post office or by phoning 0818 200 400. You should ask for the relevant form for your age.
You can get help to fill in your application form at your Intreo Centre, Social Welfare Branch Office or Citizens Information Centre.
Where to send your form
|Social welfare payment||Send your application to:|
||Send your completed form to your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.|
||Apply to the Department of Social Protection's representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer) at your local office.|