A Fuel Allowance is a payment under the National Fuel Scheme to help with the cost of heating your home during the winter months. It is paid to people who are dependent on long-term social welfare payments and who are unable to provide for their own heating needs. Only one Fuel Allowance is paid to a household.
Fuel Allowance is generally paid with your social welfare payment on the same day. You can choose to get Fuel Allowance paid weekly or to get your total allowance paid in 2 lump sums.
The 2020-2021 Fuel Allowance season starts Monday, 28 September 2020 and is expected to run until April 2021.
Some UK pensioners living in Ireland may be eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment from the UK. You can find out more from gov.uk.
Keeping well and warm in winter
Coping with cold weather can be difficult especially if you are older or have a disability or a long-term illness. The HSE website gives information and advice about the supports available to help you and your household to keep well and warm during the winter.
You may qualify for a Fuel Allowance if you are getting one of the following schemes:
- State Pension (Contributory) or State Pension (Non-Contributory)
- Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Contributory) Pension or Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Non-Contributory) Pension
- Incapacity Supplement under the Occupational Injuries Benefit scheme
- Blind Pension
- Invalidity Pension
- Disability Allowance
- Deserted Wife's Benefit or Allowance
- One-Parent Family Payment
- Guardian's Payment (Contributory) or Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)
- Farm Assist
- Basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance for more than 455 days (over 15 months - it is paid on a 7-day week basis so 15 months’ payment is reached after day 455)
- Jobseeker's Allowance for more than 390 days (over 15 months - it is paid on a 6-day week basis so 15 months’ payment is reached after day 390). Fuel Allowance is payable to people who have been getting Jobseeker’s Allowance for more than 390 days, if they satisfy the relevant qualifying conditions. Days of unemployment on Jobseeker's Benefit count towards the 390 days if the Jobseeker’s Benefit claim was immediately before the award of Jobseeker’s Allowance. You can keep your Fuel Allowance if you move from One-Parent Family Payment, Carer’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Transitional payment to Jobseeker's Allowance.
- Jobseeker's Transitional payment
- Death Benefit under the Occupational Injuries Scheme
- Social Security Pension from an EE/EEA country or a country with whom Ireland has a bilateral social security agreement (provided there is an equivalent Irish payment).
- Or if you are taking part in certain schemes - Back to Work Allowance, Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA), Rural Social Scheme, Tús or Community Employment and are entitled to keep your secondary benefits
You must also live alone or only with:
- A dependent spouse, civil partner or cohabitant and/or dependent children (if your dependant is getting half-rate Carer's Allowance - see 'Carer's Allowance' below)
- Other people getting one of the qualifying payments who would also be eligible for a Fuel Allowance in their own right
- A person who is getting Carer's Allowance or Carer's Benefit and is caring for you or for your dependent spouse, partner or cohabitant on a full-time basis
- A person getting COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), short-term Jobseeker's Allowance or basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance
You and other members of your household are unable to provide for your heating needs from your own resources.
You do not qualify for a Fuel Allowance if:
- Your heating needs are met under a deed transferring property
- You live with someone who is not getting one of the qualifying payments for the Fuel Allowance
- You are on a qualifying contributory payment and have income above the means test limits (see below)
- You are getting one of the following contributory payments: Jobseeker's Benefit, Illness Benefit, Occupational Injuries Benefit, Maternity Benefit or Disablement Benefit. Note that you do not qualify for Fuel Allowance if you are getting any of these payments with a qualifying payment, for example, a half-rate Maternity Benefit with a One-Parent Family Payment.
Carer's Allowance is not a qualifying payment for Fuel Allowance.
However, you may qualify for Fuel Allowance if you are getting half-rate Carer's Allowance and another qualifying social welfare payment:
- If you are getting a non-contributory social welfare payment and you or your adult dependant is getting a half-rate Carer's Allowance, then Fuel Allowance is payable (if you meet all the criteria).
- If you are getting a contributory social welfare payment and you or your adult dependant is getting a half-rate Carer's Allowance, then the value of the half-rate Carer's Allowance will be assessed in the means test for Fuel Allowance.
Means test for Fuel Allowance
Fuel Allowance is a means-tested payment. If you are getting a non-contributory social welfare payment, you are accepted as satisfying the means test. If you are on an employment support scheme or if you are getting a Back to Education Allowance you are entitled to keep your Fuel Allowance if you continue to satisfy the conditions – including the means test.
The Fuel Allowance means test is linked to the maximum rate of the State Pension (Contributory).
You can have a combined weekly income of €100 above the maximum State Pension (Contributory) for your situation and still be eligible for a Fuel Allowance. This means that you can have capital/savings, providing they are less than €58,000, and be eligible for a Fuel Allowance. (€58,000 is equivalent to just over €100 a week under the capital means assessment rules.)
- The assessable income limit for a single person under 80 is €348.30 (€100 plus €248.30)
- The assessable income limit for a couple (where the qualified adult is aged under 66) is €513.70 (€100 plus €248.30 plus €165.40)
- The assessable income limit for a couple (where the qualified adult is aged 66 or over) is €570.80 (€100 plus €248.30 plus €222.50)
If you are over 80, add an extra €10 to the appropriate DSP payment rate.
Getting a pension or benefit from another country
If you are getting a pension/benefit or equivalent payment 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), you may qualify for a Fuel Allowance, provided you satisfy the qualifying conditions mentioned above and you are:
- Legally resident in Ireland
- Aged 66 or over
- Under 66 and getting an Invalidity Pension (for over 12 months), a Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's Pension or an equivalent payment from another country.
Where more than one person in a household qualifies
Only one Fuel Allowance payment is paid to a household. If two or more people who would qualify for a Fuel Allowance live together, a single Fuel Allowance is paid to one qualified person in that household.
If everyone in the household is getting a means-tested social welfare payment, they can decide who applies for Fuel Allowance.
If one of the people living in the household is getting a contributory (non means-tested) payment, such as State Pension (Contributory) or Invalidity Pension, they should apply first (so a means test can be carried out on their income). Alternatively, the other person can apply for Fuel Allowance but they must include information about the means of the person getting a contributory payment in their application.
|Payment||Person who should apply for Fuel Allowance|
|Contributory social welfare pension and long-term Jobseeker's Allowance||Social welfare pensioner|
|Pre-Retirement Allowance and contributory social welfare pension||Social welfare pensioner|
|Pre-Retirement Allowance and long-term Jobseeker's Allowance||Person receiving Pre-Retirement Allowance|
|Contributory social welfare pension and social security payment from another country||Social welfare pensioner|
|Social security payment from another country and Long-term Jobseeker's Allowance||Social security pensioner|
Telephone Support Allowance
Since 4 June 2018, if you are getting Fuel Allowance as well as the Living Alone Increase, you automatically qualify for a Telephone Support Allowance of €2.50 per week. It is paid separately from your primary payment and is intended to help with the cost of communications and/or a home alert system. As this allowance is paid automatically to people who qualify, you do not need to apply for it.
The Department has published useful FAQs about the Telephone Support Allowance.
The Fuel Allowance is paid during the fuel season. Usually this runs from October to April each year for 28 weeks.
From 4 January 2021, the Fuel Allowance is €28 weekly.
You can also be paid in 2 lump sums. If you have not chosen to be paid in 2 lump sums and you wish to do so - see 'Choosing lump sum or weekly payments' below.
How to apply
If you are applying for Fuel Allowance for the first time you need to fill in application form NFS 1 (pdf). This application form is also available from your local post office. You can also request it by texting FORM FUEL followed by your name and address to 51909.
If you apply for the Fuel Allowance after the start of the Fuel Allowance season, it will not be backdated.
If you are getting a payment from the Department of Social Protection or a social security payment from a country covered by EU Regulations or a country with which Ireland has a bilateral social security agreement, the Fuel Allowance will be included in your weekly payment. You do not need to reapply for the Fuel Allowance each year as long as, your circumstances remain the same and you continue to get the same 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 the allowance at your local post office.
Choosing lump sum or weekly payments
You can get your Fuel Allowance paid weekly or in 2 lump sums. The first lump sum is normally paid in early October and the second payment is in January.
To get your Fuel Allowance paid in two lump sums, fill in the Change the Payment Frequency form (pdf) at least one month before the first lump sum is due.
This option is not available to people getting payments under the Rural Social Scheme, Tús, Gateway, Community Employment or Supplementary Welfare Allowance.
Where to apply
Complete and return the form to the section that pays your main payment, as set out below.
|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.|