Fuel Allowance

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, 25 September 2023. It will be paid for 28 weeks (until 5 April 2024).

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). The first lump sum instalment was paid in September 2023. The second was paid in January 2024.

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 or qualified child dependant on a full-time basis
  • A person getting short-term Jobseeker's Allowance (less than 312 days) or basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance (less than 364 days)
  • 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
  • A person renting a room from you, where this doesn’t affect your entitlement to Fuel Allowance (see ‘Renting a room in your home’ below)
  • A person you are providing accommodation to in your own home and for whom you are getting the Accommodation Recognition Payment

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

Qualifying social assistance payments

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).

Jobseeker’s Allowance

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.

Spouse, civil partner or cohabitant on a CE scheme

If you are getting Jobseeker’s Allowance, and your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is on a Community Employment (CE) scheme, they can be considered as a qualified adult on your payment if you apply for Fuel Allowance.

Employment or education support schemes

You can keep your Fuel Allowance if you were getting it before you started any of the following schemes:

  • Back to Work Allowance
  • Back to Education Allowance
  • Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA)
  • Community Employment (CE)
  • Rural Social Scheme (RSS)
  • Tús

CE, RSS and Tús

You can apply for Fuel Allowance at any point when you are on CE, RSS or Tús if you meet all the relevant qualifying conditions for Fuel Allowance. If you were getting a long-term qualifying payment before starting CE, RSS or Tús, you satisfy the qualifying payment requirement.

Time spent on the above schemes cannot be used to meet the minimum number of days on a qualifying payment for Fuel Allowance.

Half-rate payments

You do not qualify for Fuel Allowance if you are getting a half-rate payment in addition to a qualifying payment. This does not apply to half-rate Carer’s Allowance.

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

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.

Second property

If you have a second property (property other than your own home), the rental income from that property is assessed. However, the capital value (less any mortgage outstanding on the property) will be assessed if the property is not rented.

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 €512 per week, or €1,024 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.

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 means must be less than the maximum State Pension (Contributory) at 66, including any increases you could get for dependents or living alone, plus an additional €200. This is called the ‘assessable income limit’.

For example, the maximum State Pension (Contributory) for a single person aged 66 is €277.30. You then add €200 to €277.30, which gives a total weekly income limit of €477.30.

See the table below for examples of weekly assessable income limits.

Household type

Assessable income limit (per week)

Single person under 70

€477.30

Couple (where qualified adult is under 66)

€662.00

Couple (where qualified adult is 66 or over, but under 70)

€725.90

 

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.

Weekly payment

Fuel Allowance is usually paid from the end of September to April each year for 28 weeks. In 2023-2024, the start date for Fuel Allowance was Monday, 25 September 2023. 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 2023-2024, 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 2023. The second will be paid in January 2024.

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

If you are getting Fuel Allowance as well as the Living Alone Increase, you will also get a Telephone Support Allowance of €2.50 per week

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.

Online application

You can apply for the Fuel Allowance online. You must have a MyGovID account to apply online.

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

If you can't apply online, you can use a paper form. Where you send your form depends on the type of social welfare payment you get.

If you get:

Send your application to:

Department of Social Protection

Social Welfare Services Office
Government Buildings
Ballinalee Road
Longford
Ireland

Tel: (043) 334 0000 or 0818 927 770

Department of Social Protection

Social Welfare Services
College Road
Sligo F91 T384
Ireland

Opening Hours: This office does not offer a service to personal callers. All queries must be made using the online enquiry form, by telephone or in writing.
Tel: (071) 915 7100 or 0818 200 400

If you get long-term Supplementary Welfare Allowance (12 months), send your form to your local Community Welfare Officer at your local office.

If you get a pension or benefit from another EU country or from a country that Ireland has a bilateral social security agreement with, send your form to:

National Fuel Scheme

Social Welfare Services

College Road
Sligo F91 T384
Ireland

Tel: (071) 915 7100 or 0818 200 400
Page edited: 26 February 2024