A major expansion of the Fuel Allowance scheme for home heating is to begin to take applications from today. The Government does not want any elderly person to be cold in their homes this winter. The current rate of payment is €33 every week from September until April 2023.Only one Fuel Allowance is paid to each household.
The changes take effect from January 2nd 2023 and the Department is expecting significant interest under the new Fuel Allowance measures and those who qualify will have their payments backdated, as appropriate, to January 2nd 2023. The new scheme is for those aged over 70 and is expected to benefit over 80,000 households. Online applications can be made from today at mywelfare.ie – it is also possible to fill in a paper form available to download on the gov.ie website.
As part of this expansion, a new Over 70s Means Test for Fuel Allowance is being introduced. Under this: A single person over 70 can have income of €500 per week and a couple can have income of €1,000 per week. People over 70 will no longer need to be in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment to be eligible for Fuel Allowance. In the case of a couple where one person is over 70 and one is under 70, they will be assessed under the Over 70s Means Test criteria. Under this, the first €50,000 in savings and investments will now be completely disregarded in the means test.
The Minister also today announced the expansion of the standard Under 70s Fuel Allowance Scheme:
From 2nd of January 2023:
The weekly means threshold for those aged under 70 will be increased by €80 per week, from €120 to €200 above the appropriate weekly rate of State Pension Contributory.
Payments from Disablement Benefit and Half Rate Carers payments will no longer be included in the means assessment for Fuel Allowance for applicants who are both under and over 70 years.