What is the free electricity allowance?
The free electricity allowance is a €35 monthly supplement paid by the Department of Social Protection to help people with their electricity bills. All over 70s and people under 70 who meet certain criteria are eligible to receive the payment, which is part of the Household Benefits Package.
Am I eligible for the free electricity allowance?
The free electricity allowance is available to everyone over 70 and to people under 70 in certain circumstances. The payment isn't means-tested and you don't need to be receiving a State pension in order to get it.
You must be living in Ireland legally and permanently and be the only person in your household who is receiving the allowance.
Can it be paid toward my gas bill instead?
If you have gas heating, then you can choose to have the €35 paid towards your gas bill instead i.e. the gas allowance. But it has to be one or the other, you can't get both payments unfortunately!
People under 70
Individuals between 66 and 70 who are getting a State, Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Pension can also get the €35 monthly allowance.
If you're under 66 and are on Disability Allowance or are getting an Invalidity or Blind Pension, you can also qualify. However in both of these cases you must be living alone or only with 'excepted people'.
What are 'excepted people'?
If you’re not living alone, but are only living with ‘excepted people’ i.e. someone who earns less than €310 a week, dependent children under 18 or an incapacitated person in need of care for more than a year, you can also get the Free Electricity Allowance.
The Household Benefits Package page of Citizen Information's website details all qualifying criteria.
I’m a tenant, what are the rules for me?
If you're renting a property you're still entitled to receive the allowance as long as you meet the rules above.
However your landlord must confirm in writing that you are indeed a tenant and are paying the electricity or gas bills. She/he must also provide the MPRN of the address at which you’re living.
How does the free electricity allowance work?
If your energy supplier is Electric Ireland for electricity or Bord Gáis Energy or Flogas for gas, then the €35 allowance can be deducted automatically from your bills - handy!
If you’re not a customer of one of these suppliers, you can either opt to receive the €35 into your bank account on the first Tuesday of every month or to collect the sum from your local Post Office. If you go with the latter, you have 90 days to collect your allowance. Don't put it off!
You can still switch suppliers at any stage (to avail of a cheaper rate) and still get your allowance, however you'll have to inform the Department of Social Welfare.
What if I don't use my entire allowance each month?
If you don’t use up all of your monthly allowance, you simply carry it forward to your next bill.
How do I apply?
If you qualify for the free electricity allowance, just apply online at MyWelfare.ie.
If you are unable to apply online, you can download the Household Benefit Package application form (pdf) and return it to the Household Benefits Package section: