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Fuel Allowance 2020: qualify and apply

A blue house with a thermometer above it, an electricity bolt on one side and a gas flame on the other, surrounded by coins.

What is the fuel allowance? The fuel allowance is a payment available to help long-term recipients of certain welfare payments, who might otherwise have trouble meeting their bills. Irish energy prices are among the highest in Europe, clocking in at the 4th most expensive for electricity, and the 2nd most expensive for gas.


Energy bills are also much higher in Autumn and Winter, due to the cold wet climate, and weather upheavals in recent years such as “the beast from the east” mean that making sure your house is warm in the colder months is no mean feat.

To add to this, price hikes by energy suppliers tend to start during the summer and continue into the second half of the year, pushed by an overall increase in wholesale energy prices. One positive piece of news for Irish consumers is that the government PSO (Public Service Obligation) levy on electricity was reduced in October 2018 by nearly half, down from €105 to €47.

The downward trend has continued throughout 2019 wherein the 2019-2020 budget the PSO levy was again reduced to €38.69 a year.

Keeping your household at a comfortable temperature can be especially difficult for citizens who are older, unwell or have a disability, and the fuel allowance attempts to offset this.

The winter fuel allowance is also compatible with the Household Benefits Package so you can receive both at the same time.


How much is the winter fuel allowance?

The winter fuel allowance can be received in two different ways - either as a weekly €24.50 payment during the fuel season or in two lump-sum payments. In October 2020, it was announced that the fuel allowance will rise to €28.0per week.

Fuel allowance lump sum payments are €345 paid in October and the second payment in January. The allowance will be paid together with the social security payments already in place.

Make sure to get your applications in as early as possible as if you apply after the fuel season has already started, you won’t receive any backdated allowance. This means you could find yourself significantly out of pocket.

Double up your savings by getting cheaper dual fuel or electricity rates.Call us to find out how you can save €€€s on top of energy scheme help. Call 1800 816 036 or get a free callback now.

Is the winter fuel allowance backdated?

The fuel allowance is not backdated. If you apply after the start of the fuel allowance season, you may still be eligible to receive payments going forward, but will have missed out on any possible payments prior to applying.

When does the fuel allowance start? The fuel allowance season of 2019 - 2020 runs from September 30th for 28 weeks.


Who can qualify for the fuel allowance?

A man with a questioning look on his face

There are three categories to consider when checking to see if a person is eligible for the fuel allowance, and you must be eligible in each one.

The first hurdle can be ticked off if you receive any of the payments below:

  • State pension
  • Widow’s, widower’s or surviving civil partner’s pension
  • Incapacity supplement
  • Blind pension
  • Invalidity pension
  • Disability allowance
  • Deserted wife’s allowance
  • One-parent family payment
  • Guardian’s payment
  • Farm assist
  • Pre-retirement allowance
  • Basic supplementary welfare allowance (for more than 455 days)
  • Jobseekers allowance (for more than 390 days)
  • Jobseekers transitional payment
  • Death benefit (under the occupational injuries scheme)
  • Social security payment from Ireland, an EEA country, or a country which Ireland has a bilateral social security agreement with
  • Certain other schemes such as back to work allowance, back to work enterprise allowance, rural social scheme, tús, or community employment schemes.

You might not be eligible for the Fuel Allowance this year.Call our energy experts to see how you can still save on your winter energy. Call 1800 816 036 or get a free callback now.

For any contributory payments - where you have partly paid for them in advance - the application may be means-tested.

Which countries have bilateral social security agreements with Ireland?

A map of the world with the relevant countries highlighted in blue
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Channel Islands
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Isle of Man
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Republic of Korea
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

The second consideration for eligibility is your living situation. You must either be living alone or with:

  • Dependent occupants such as a spouse/civil partner/children
  • Other occupants who would also qualify for the fuel allowance
  • A person who is receiving the carer’s benefit and caring for you or your dependants full-time
  • A person receiving the jobseeker’s allowance or the basic supplementary welfare allowance

The third and final consideration is that neither you nor any member of your household should be able to provide for your heating needs from your own pocket.

NoteOnly one fuel allowance is allowed per household, even if more than one household member qualifies for the allowance.

Telephone Support Allowance

From June 2018, any person who receives the winter fuel allowance and the living-alone increase will qualify for a €2.50 weekly telephone support allowance year-round.

The aim of the telephone support allowance is to encourage communication with others for people living on their own, by subsidizing the cost, and it can also be put toward home security solutions, many of which require phone lines to be already installed.

The Telephone Support Allowance does not have to be applied for as it is automatically awarded to anyone receiving the living-alone increase and the fuel allowance.


How to apply for the fuel allowance

A man with a questioning look on his face

The Fuel Allowance form needed to apply for the allowance is the NFS1 form which you can print out and fill in. Alternatively, it’s also available from any post office, and if you can’t manage to get to a post office, simply text “FORM FUEL (name) (address)”, for example, “FORM FUEL Mary Murphy 5 Bracken Lane Arklow Co. Wicklow”, to 51909 and you’ll be sent out an application form.

You won’t need to reapply for the fuel allowance every year, as unless your financial circumstances change or the payment you receive is stopped (or changed to a different payment type) you will still qualify. As such you can send off your initial application, and then enjoy some peace of mind.

Check your eligibility in minutes.It can sometimes be difficult to tell if you are eligible for energy schemes. Find out in minutes if you are and what to do if you're not. Call 1800 816 036 or get a free callback now.

When filling in the Fuel allowance form don’t forget to indicate whether you’d prefer to receive weekly or lump sum payments. If you’ve already applied or qualified for the allowance, and later change your mind about how you’d prefer to be paid it, you can still change it by filling in the CPF1 form.

The CPF1 form can also be posted to you by texting “FORM FUELCHANGE (name) (address)” to 51909. This form then needs to be sent to the same address you sent your original fuel allowance application to.

In addition to applying for the Fuel Allowance, we also recommend switching your energy tariff to ensure you're getting the best offer. This could save you an additional few hundred euros per year. In the table below, you'll find the cheapest gas and electricity offers with Ireland's largest suppliers.

Cheapest Duel Fuel Offer per Supplier
Supplier Best offer Price per year
Bord Gáis Energy 29% Electricity discount
38% Gas discount
€1,396.23
Electric Ireland 8.5% Dual fuel discount
€350 Cashback
1,381.38
Energia 40% Electricity discount
39% Gas discount
€40 Cashback
€1,388.35
PrePayPower Standard €2,098.03
SSE Airtricity 10% Dual fuel discount
€270 Cashback
€1,527.91
Calculations based on average consumption figures for an urban home with a 24-hour meter. All discounts and cashback have been applied. Last updated: November 2020

Here at Selectra, our trained advisors can find you the best energy plan for your home. Call 1800 816 036 now or request a callback to get a free comparison.


Where to apply for the fuel allowance?

Once you have filled out the Fuel Allowance form, you will need to send it to the relevant government department that issues your benefit payment.

For example, if you receive a state pension, then you’ll need to send your form to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

If you’re unsure of where to send your application, we've provided the qualifying payments and their associated contact addresses below (information sourced from Citizen's Information).

Payments & Contact Information
Payment Type Apply to:
Disability Allowance
Incapacity Supplement
Invalidity Pension
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Social Welfare Services Office,
Government Buildings,
Balinalee Road,
Longford.
Tel: ☎ (043) 334 0000
Locall: ☎ 1890 927 770
Webpage: http://www.welfare.ie
Blind Pension
Deserted Wife's Benefit/Allowance
Guardian's Payment ( C & NC )
Prisoner's Wife Allowance
State Pension ( C & NC )
Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's ( C & NC )
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Social Welfare Services,
College Road,
Sligo.
Note: This office does not accept visits from the public.
Tel: ☎ (071) 915 7100
Locall: ☎ 1890 500 000
Webpage: http://www.welfare.ie
Farm Assist
Jobseeker's Transitional Payment
Long-term Jobseeker's Allowance (15 months)
One Parent Family Payment
Send your filled-in form to your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Office
Long-term Supplementary Welfare Allowance (15 months) Make an application with a Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection representative at your local welfare office.
Persons in receipt of a social security payment from a country either covered by EU regulations, or with which Ireland has a bilateral social security agreement National Fuel Scheme
Social Welfare Services,
College Road,
Sligo.
Tel: ☎ (071) 915 7100
Locall: ☎ 1890 500 000
Webpage: http://www.welfare.ie
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