What is Fuel Allowance?
A Fuel Allowance is a payment to help with the cost of heating your home during the winter months.
You can get the Fuel Allowance, if you are getting a long-term social welfare payment and you are unable to provide for your heating needs from your own resources. See ‘How to qualify for Fuel Allowance’ below.
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 paid in 2 lump sums.
The 2021-2022 Fuel Allowance season starts Monday, 27 September 2021, and is expected to run for 28 weeks.
It was announced in Budget 2022 that the weekly rate of Fuel Allowance will increase by €5 from 12 October 2021. The increased payment, and the 3 weeks arrears since 12 October 2021, will be paid in the first week of November 2021. This applies if you are getting Fuel Allowance as part of a weekly payment, and if you chose to get the payment in lump sums.
The income threshold for Fuel Allowance will increase by €20 from €100 to €120 (January 2022).
People getting Jobseekers Allowance or Supplementary Welfare Allowance may qualify for Fuel Allowance after 12 months (down from 15 months), if all other qualifying conditions are met (September 2022).
UK Winter Fuel Payment
Some UK pensioners living in Ireland may be eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment from the UK. However, the UK payment is taken into account in the means test for Fuel Allowance. See ‘How income is assessed for Fuel Allowance’ below.
Keeping well and warm in winter
Coping with cold weather can be difficult 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 to keep well and warm during the winter.
You can also use comparison websites to check gas and electricity prices.
How to qualify for Fuel Allowance
To get the Fuel Allowance you must be living alone (or with certain people listed below), living in Ireland and getting one of the following qualifying 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
- Blind Pension
- 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
- Deserted Wife's Benefit or Allowance
- One-Parent Family Payment (OFP)
- 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). Days on Jobseeker's Benefit (JB) can count towards the 390 days, if your JB was immediately before your JA claim. You can keep your Fuel Allowance if you move to JA from OFP, Carer’s Allowance or JST.
- Jobseeker's Transitional payment (JST)
- 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 live alone or only with:
- A dependent spouse, civil partner or cohabitant and/or dependent children
- 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
- Other people who are getting the qualifying payments and who would also be eligible for a Fuel Allowance in their own right
You and other members of your household are unable to provide for your heating needs from your own resources.
Some of the reasons you may not get a Fuel Allowance:
- You live with someone who is not getting one of the qualifying payments for the Fuel Allowance
- Your heating needs are met under a deed transferring property
- You are on a qualifying social insurance payment and have income above the means test limit - see ‘How income is assessed for Fuel Allowance’ below
- You are getting one of the following social insurance payments: Jobseeker's Benefit, Illness Benefit, Enhanced 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.
How your income is assessed for Fuel Allowance
Fuel Allowance is a means-tested payment. In a means test, the Department of Social Protection (DSP) examines all your sources of income. Your 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 already getting a qualifying social assistance payment.
The amount of means that you are allowed to have for the Fuel Allowance is the current maximum rate of State Pension (Contributory) including any increases that you might get for your age, living alone and dependants, plus €100.
- 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.
The main items included in the means test are:
- Cash income that you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant may have. Find out more about what is not included in the means test.
- Capital, for example, the value of savings, investments, shares or any property you have (but not your own home). Find out more about capital not included in the means test.
Carer’s Allowance: If you are getting a qualifying social insurance payment (see list above) and you or your adult dependant is getting a half-rate Carer's Allowance, then your half-rate Carer's Allowance will be taken into account in the means test for Fuel Allowance. It is not assessed if you are getting a social assistance payment.
Other schemes: If you are on an employment support scheme or if you are getting a Back to Education Allowance, you can keep your Fuel Allowance if you continue to meet the conditions for Fuel Allowance – including the means test.
Rate of Fuel Allowance
The Fuel Allowance is paid from the end of September to April each year for 28 weeks.
The Fuel Allowance is €28 per week for 28 weeks. It was announced in Budget 2022 that the weekly rate of Fuel Allowance will increase by €5 from 12 October 2021.
You can also be paid in 2 lump sums of €392. The first lump sum of €392 will be paid the week beginning the 27 September 2021. The second lump sum will be paid the week beginning 3 January 2022.
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.
Telephone Support Allowance
How to apply for Fuel Allowance
Applying for the first time you need to fill in application form NFS 1 (pdf).
If you apply for the Fuel Allowance after the start of the Fuel Allowance season, it will not be backdated.
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.
The Fuel Allowance will be 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 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 paid at the start of the start of the Fuel Allowance season. The second lump sum will be paid the week beginning 3 January 2022.
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.
If 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, only one Fuel Allowance is paid to one person in that household.
If everyone in the household is getting a social assistance payment, they can decide who applies for Fuel Allowance.
If one of the people living in the household is getting a 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 apply for Fuel Allowance, but they must include information about the person getting a social insurance payment.
Where to apply for Fuel Allowance
Complete and return the form to the section that pays your main social welfare payment:
|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.|