Know Your Rights: Fuel Allowance

Question

Who qualifies for Fuel Allowance and how is it paid?

Answer

Fuel Allowance is paid under the National Fuel Scheme, operated by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. It is intended to help people who are dependent on long-term social welfare payments and who are unable to meet their heating needs. The fuel season for 2017–2018 starts on Monday 2 October 2017.

Under the scheme, a Fuel Allowance of €22.50 per week is generally paid with your social welfare payment. For the 2017–2018 fuel season, the total allowance of €585 can be paid in two equal lump sums, one at the start of the season in October and the second in January. To avail of this payment option, you must complete the form FA CPF 1 which is available from your local post office or social welfare office. You can also get this form by texting FORM FUELCHANGE, followed by your name and address, to 51909. To get the lump sum in October 2017, you must submit your completed form before 15 September 2017. If you submit your form after this date there is no guarantee that you will receive the lump sum in October, but your weekly payment will continue until the January lump sum is issued.

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.

You must live alone or with someone who also qualifies for the allowance – you cannot get the allowance if you live with someone who does not qualify. Where two or more people living in the same household qualify for the allowance, only one allowance is paid. If your heating needs are met in other ways (for example, if you live in local authority housing where heating is provided), you do not qualify for Fuel Allowance.

If you think you are eligible, you should apply immediately because  the allowance will not be backdated after the start of the fuel season in October. The application form for Fuel Allowance (NFS1) is available at your post office or social welfare office, or by texting FORM FUEL followed by your name and address to 51909.