Varadkar announces start of 2016/2017 Fuel Allowance Season

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Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has announced the start of the Winter Fuel Scheme from tomorrow (Monday October 3rd). 

This non-statutory scheme helps householders on long-term social welfare payments to cover additional heating expenses in the winter.

Anyone who qualified for the payment last year will automatically be included again this year, if they still fulfil the eligibility requirements. However customers who have not previously received the payment can apply by contacting their local Social Welfare office or from the office which handles their scheme payment.

“The fuel season begins next week and the fuel allowance will be paid at a rate of €22.50 per week. The rate was increased by €2.50 this year.   This is an important support for almost half a million low-income households across Ireland for whom the cost of heating oil, electricity or solid fuel can be a real worry,” Minister Varadkar said.

Someone receiving a Natural Gas or Electricity Allowance under the Department of Social Protection’s Household Benefits Package, and who uses gas or electricity for their heating, may also be entitled to the Fuel Allowance.

The Fuel Allowance of €22.50 per week represents a contribution towards a household’s normal heating expenses.  One Allowance is paid per household and it is not intended to meet the entire cost, but to provide assistance. 

Some 400,000 households benefited from the payment last winter, of whom 170,000 were pensioners, 93,000 people were long-term unemployed, and 39,000 were One Parent Families. 

Another 76,000 people in receipt of an Illness payment such as Disability Allowance or Invalidity Pension received the payment.  The cost of the scheme in the 2015/1016 season was €224 million.

Further information

A person may qualify for Fuel Allowance if they are getting one of the following payments from the Department of Social Protection:

  • State Pension (Contributory) or State Pension (Non- Contributory),
  • Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Contributory) or (Non-Contributory) Pension,
  • Incapacity Supplement,
  • Blind Pension,
  • Invalidity Pension,
  • Disability Allowance,
  • Deserted Wife's Benefit or Allowance,
  • One-Parent Family Payment,
  • Guardian's Payment (Contributory),
  • Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory),
  • Farm Assist,
  • Pre-Retirement Allowance,
  • Prisoner's Wife's Allowance,
  • Long-term Jobseeker's Allowance,
  • Basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance,
  • Disabled Person's Rehabilitation Allowance,
  • Infectious Diseases Maintenance Allowance

A person may be entitled to the Fuel Allowance if they are getting one of the following payments from the Health Service Executive:

  • Disabled Person's Rehabilitation Allowance,
  • Infectious Diseases Maintenance Allowance,


a social security payment from another country
a special Department of Defence Allowance,


  • If they are taking part in an employment or educational scheme and they are entitled to keep their secondary benefits,
  • they are normally living in the State,
  • are living alone or only with:
    • a qualified spouse, civil partner, cohabitant or qualified children*,
    • other people getting one of the payments listed on page 3 who would also qualify for Fuel Allowance in their own right,
    • a person who is providing full-time care and attention if the applicant has a disability or long-term illness,
    • a person getting short-term Jobseeker’s Allowance,
  • the applicant and other members of their household are unable to pay for the heating needs from their own resources. To meet this condition, the household must satisfy a means test.

* A qualified child is under age 18 or aged 18 to 22 if in full-time education. If a child turns 18 while in full-time education and the applicant for the Fuel Allowance is getting Jobseeker’s Allowance (for less than 15 months), Jobseeker’s Benefit, Illness Benefit or Supplementary Welfare Allowance, they will remain a qualified child only until they finish full-time education or until the following 30 June, whichever is earlier.

Full information is available on the Department of Social Protection Website at
Last modified:02/10/2016