Tuesday, 5 December 2017
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Fuel Allowance Eligibility
510. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason fuel allowance is not available to a person whose partner is in receipt of a supported employment scheme payment, such as community employment or TUS; if this anomaly will be reviewed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51941/17]
The fuel allowance is a payment of €22.50 per week from October to April to 376,000 low income households to assist them with their energy costs. The allowance represents a contribution towards the energy costs of a household. It is not intended to meet those costs in full. Only one allowance is paid per household.
Participants on Employment Support Schemes (ESS), can be paid fuel allowance where they had applied for or were awarded fuel allowance prior to commencing the scheme and where they satisfy or continue to satisfy the conditions.
If fuel allowance is being paid to another member of the household then fuel can remain in payment if the person moving to the ESS had an entitlement to fuel allowance in their own right.
Fuel is not payable where a person is living with someone in receipt of a DEASP employment support scheme payment who does not a have entitlement to fuel allowance in their own right.
Claimants moving to an ESS cannot accrue entitlement to fuel allowance while on the scheme, e.g., a person moving from jobseeker’s allowance with less than 391 days.
The Guidelines for the fuel allowance scheme are kept under review. However, any decision to allow people whose entitlement to fuel had not been established prior to participating on an employment support scheme to subsequently qualify for the fuel allowance would have to be considered in the context of overall budgetary negotiations.
Under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme, a special heating supplement may be paid to assist people in certain circumstances who have special heating needs due to ill health or infirmity. Exceptional needs payments may also be made to help meet an essential, once-off cost which a person is unable to meet from his/her own resources.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.