Dáil debates

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Social Welfare Eligibility

10:20 am

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Deputy for raising this important matter. The fuel allowance is a payment of €28 per week for 28 weeks, a total of €784 each year, from October to April, to 370,000 low-income households at an estimated cost of €300 million in 2021. The purpose of this payment is to assist these households with their energy costs. The allowance represents a contribution towards the energy costs of a household. It is not intended to meet these costs in full. Only one allowance is paid per household.

The criteria for fuel allowance are framed in order to direct the limited resources available to my Department in as targeted a manner as possible. All recipients of non-contributory payments are accepted as satisfying the means test for fuel. People who are in receipt of a qualifying contributory payment must also satisfy a means test.

A fuel applicant and members of his or her household may have a combined assessable income of up to €100 a week above the appropriate rate of State pension contributory and qualify for a payment. This ensures that the fuel allowance payment goes to those who are more vulnerable to fuel poverty, including those reliant on social protection payments for longer periods and who are unlikely to have additional resources of their own. Any decision to amend the criteria would have to be considered in the overall policy and budgetary context.

This year, funds raised through the carbon tax will again support targeted social welfare and other initiatives to alleviate fuel poverty and ensure a just transition. In this regard, in the forthcoming budget the Government will consider how it can support people on low incomes and those on social welfare payments. The outcome of these considerations will be announced on budget day.


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