Changes to eligibility for fuel allowance

December 30th, 2022 11:45 AM

By Southern Star Team

People over 70 will no longer need to be in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment to be eligible for fuel allowance.(Photo: Shutterstock)

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FUEL Allowance is a means tested payment to help with the cost of heating your home during the winter months. It is paid for 28 weeks each year from late September until the beginning of April. 

The current rate of Fuel Allowance is €33 per week. If you qualify for the allowance, it is paid with your social welfare payment on the same day. 

You can choose to get the Fuel Allowance paid weekly or paid in two lump sums. 

Some changes to the qualifying means test were announced in Budget 2023 which are due to come into effect from the beginning of January 2023.

What is the new means test for people over 70 for the Fuel Allowance?

The new Over 70s Means Test for Fuel Allowance which has been recently introduced is as follows:

• a single person over 70 can have income of €500 per week and a couple can have income of €1,000 per week

• people over 70 will no longer need to be in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment to be eligible for Fuel Allowance

• in the case of a couple where one person is over 70 and one is under 70, they will be assessed under the Over 70s Means Test criteria

  the amount of savings that are disregarded in the means assessment for the Fuel Allowance payment for people aged over 70 has increased from €20,000 to €50,000

When can people over 70 apply to be assessed under the new rules?

The Department of Social Protection have announced that people over 70 can apply on line to be assessed under the new means test rules from 5th December. 

According to the Department, applying on line is the quickest and easiest way to apply. 

Alternatively you can apply using an application form which you can get from your local Citizens Information Centre or Intreo office. A shorter version of the Fuel Allowance application form will be available for people over 70 from 19th December 2022.

Are there changes in the means test for people under 70?

From January 2nd 2023 the weekly means threshold for those aged under 70 will be increased by €80 per week, from €120 to €200 above the appropriate weekly rate of State Pension Contributory. In addition payments from Disablement Benefit and Half Rate Carers payments will no longer be included in the means assessment for Fuel Allowance for applicants who are both under and over 70 years

When do the changes take effect?

The new system has been available for applications since December 5th. All changes take effect from next January 2nd. 

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