Households Across Waterford entitled to Fuel Allowance for the first time

Households Across Waterford entitled to Fuel Allowance for the first time

Changes made to the qualifying criteria for the fuel allowance will make the payment available to hundreds of families across Waterford for the first time from January, a development welcomed by Green Party TD, Marc Ó Cathasaigh. Fuel allowance is a means-tested payment to assist pensioners and other low-income households with their winter heating costs, and changes made in Budget 2023 will mean that an estimated 81,000 additional households, the largest ever expansion, will now qualify for the scheme.
Dep. Ó Cathasaigh, who is the Green Party spokesperson for Social Protection, has acknowledged how important these changes are in the context of rising energy prices.

‘We all know the impact the war in Ukraine has had on people’s heating and electricity bills. People are living in fear of the bill landing through their letter box, and it’s so important that we give people the help they need to make sure they’re not afraid to keep their houses and themselves warm this winter.’

‘Older people, in particular, are more susceptible to the cold and tend to spend more of their time at home. It’s vital from a health point of view that they’re not sacrificing on home heating to make ends meet.’

Changes announced to the Fuel Allowance scheme will see a new means test for those aged 70 and over commence in January 2023. A new weekly means threshold of €500 for a single person and €1,000 for a couple is being introduced and applicants no longer need to be in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment. The threshold for the capital disregard in the means assessment is also increasing from €20,000 to €50,000.

For applicants aged under 70, the means threshold is being increased by €80 per week, from €120 to €200 above the appropriate weekly rate of the State contributory pension. That means in January the means test will increase to €265 per week for a single person for those aged under 70. In addition, in the week commencing 14 November, a €400 additional lump sum payment was paid to all households in receipt of fuel allowance.
Dep. Ó Cathasaigh is urging any households that didn’t previously qualify to recheck their entitlements now.

‘A new streamlined application process for the Fuel Allowance will be open for applications on from early December, and this should be the easiest and quickest way to check if you now qualify for the payment. If people experience any difficulty at all in filling out those applications, they shouldn’t hesitate to get in touch with my office for help.’

Applicants who qualify will have their payments backdated to the week commencing 2 January 2023 or the date of their application if the claim is made after that date.