The National Fuel Scheme may benefit households on long-term welfare payments who are unable to provide for their own heating needs. One fuel allowance only is available.
A person may qualify if he is
- in receipt of one of the principal social welfare payments
- taking part in employment, education or rural social scheme with entitlement to retain secondary benefits and living alone or only with a spouse or civil partner and /or children for whom an increase is being given
- a person who gives full-time care while the applicant is ill or incapacitated
- a person receiving short-term jobseeker’s allowance or people obtaining one of the payments which would also qualify for fuel allowance and is unable to pay for heating needs.
The test of being able to pay for heating needs depends on fulfilment of a means test by the household. Entitlement to fuel allowance may arise based on payments from another country, for persons over 66 years of age living in Ireland or under 66 years of age and receiving invalidity pensions or benefits or their equivalent.
The rated fuel allowance is €20 per week. It is included in weekly payments. It lasts from October to April. Only one person in a household may qualify for the fuel allowance even if others in it qualify.
The household benefits package is made up of
- electricity or gas allowance,
- group allowance or bottled gas allowance
- telephone allowance for landline or mobile
- free television allowance.
A person aged 70 years qualifies. The following also qualify
- obtaining carer’s allowance
- caring for a person who is getting Constant Attendance Allowance
Persons between 66 and 70 years may qualify based on
- state contributory or non-contributory pension
- widow pension or equivalent
- death benefit pension under occupational injury scheme
- disablement pension
- Garda widow’s pension
- equivalent social security pension from EU
- not receiving a qualified payment but must satisfy a means test.
Persons under 66 years may qualify if they are in receipt of
- invalidity pension
- blind pension
- incapacity supplement or workman’s compensation with disablement pension for 12 months
- disability allowance
- EU equivalent.
In certain cases, a person may live with others and qualify namely,
- qualified adult, spouse or civil partner, if obtaining an increase for them or would obtain an increase but for the fact that they are obtaining a social welfare pension in their own right
- qualified children under the age of 18 or 18-22 in full-time education.
- persons so incapacitated that they require constant care and attention for at least 12 months
- persons who would qualify for allowances in their own right
- person providing the applicant or household member with constant care and attention if the applicant or the person is so incapacitated so as to need constant care and attention for at least 12 months.
Widow or widowers and surviving civil partners aged 60 to 65 years whose late spouse was qualifying for the above payments. They qualify for the household benefits package where they were permanently living together. They must be in receipt of certain types of pensions.
There is an increment for living alone which is paid to persons who live mainly alone and obtain payments from the Department of Social Protection . Generally, they must be under the age of 66 and be in receipt of
- incapacity, disability allowance pension, disability allowance or blind pension or
- over 66 and in receipt of state pension widowers pension death benefit pension under r occupations and injuries benefit scheme or incapacity supplement.
Entitlement ceases when the person ceases to live alone, and he / she must notify the Department.
Persons living in specified islands receive increments if they
- Usually live on certain offshore islands
- Are aged 66 years or over
- receiving state pensions contributory or non-contributory or certain other payments