What is the winter fuel allowance?
In this guide we take a look at what the winter fuel allowance is, how much is paid and how you can apply. Are you eligible for the allowance? Let’s find out!
What is the winter fuel allowance?
The winter fuel allowance is a means-tested payment under the National Fuel Scheme. Those who qualify receive a weekly payment of €33 from the Department of Social Protection.
The aim of the allowance is to help those eligible with the cost of their winter gas and electricity bills.
The 2021-2022 fuel allowance season starts on Monday 27th September 2021 and is expected to end on Friday 8th April 2022. This year the fuel allowance will be paid to an estimated 370,000 households.
How much is the winter fuel allowance?
The fuel allowance consists of a payment of €33 per week for 28 weeks. Alternatively, those eligible can choose to receive the allowance in two lump-sum payments of €462 each.
The first lump sum payment will be issued the week of 27th September and the second will issue the week of 3rd January 2022.
To get your allowance paid in two lump sums, you must fill in the FA CPF1 form available here at least one month before the first lump sum is due.
It’s important to note that the lump-sum option is not available on all schemes and only one fuel allowance payment per household is permitted.
Given the recent rise in energy prices, there is speculation that the allowance might be increased in the upcoming budget.
Am I eligible for the winter fuel allowance?
Households that have previously been paid the allowance don’t need to reapply and should automatically be paid it again this year if they remain entitled to it.
A person may qualify for the allowance if they are receiving certain social welfare payments from the Department of Social Protection or HSE.
This includes the following:
- State Pension (Contributory) or State Pension (Non- Contributory)
- Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Contributory) or (Non-Contributory) Pension
- Disability Allowance, Incapacity Supplement, Blind Pension or Invalidity Pension
- Deserted Wife's Benefit or Allowance, One-Parent Family Payment or Guardian's Payment (Contributory and Non-Contributory)
- Farm Assist
- Long-term Jobseeker's Allowance
- Basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance
- Disabled Person's Rehabilitation Allowance or the Infectious Diseases Maintenance Allowance
Someone may also be entitled to the allowance if they are taking part in an employment or educational scheme and they are entitled to keep their secondary benefits.
For further information and to see a full list of eligibility criteria visit the fuel allowance page on the Gov.ie website.
How and when is it paid?
The fuel allowance is usually paid on the same day as people's social welfare payments.
If you are not getting a social welfare payment, your fuel allowance can be paid directly into your current account or you can choose to collect it from your local post office.
How do I apply?
To apply for the allowance, simply fill in the Fuel Allowance Scheme application form. Alternatively, you can pick up a form at your local post office.
It’s best to apply for the allowance before the start of the winter heating season in late September. If you apply after this, the department cannot backdate your allowance.
As long as your circumstances remain the same each year and you continue to get the same social welfare payment, you don’t need to reapply for the allowance each year as long as your circumstances remain the same.
If your circumstances have changed you should contact the Department of Social Protection to ensure you still have an entitlement to the allowance.
Other ways to save on winter energy bills
The fuel allowance is just one way that you can save money on your energy bills during the winter period. If you don’t qualify for the allowance don’t fret as there are a number of other ways to save on your gas and electricity bills.
- Free electricity allowance
If you’re over the age of 70 you can apply for the free electricity allowance, which is a monthly supplement of €35 to help with the cost of energy.
- Switch energy supplier
With energy prices on the rise, you’re likely to notice a significant increase in your winter energy bills.
One of the quickest and easiest ways to start saving on your energy bills today is by switching supplier. With our comprehensive energy comparison tool, you can compare gas and electricity deals from all 14 suppliers nationwide.
Switching only takes a few minutes and can all be carried out online. Here’s a list of everything you need to make the switch and a list of some of the most frequently asked questions about the energy switching process to help make the process easier.
- Reduce your energy consumption
If you’re still in contract and don’t want to pay an early exit fee to switch supplier, consider adjusting your habits around the home to reduce your energy consumption instead.
Simple steps such as replacing light bulbs with LED ones and unplugging appliances at night can help save around €200 on your annual energy bills
Get in touch with us
Alternatively, you can contact the Department of Social Protection, whose details are below.
Contact the Department of Social Protection
Social Welfare Services
Sligo F91 T384
Phone number: 071 9157100 or 0818 200400