|ANNOUNCEMENT ON FUEL PAYMENT OPTIONS|
New measures announced by Minister Doherty at Pre-Budget Forum
On 21st July Minister Doherty announced that from the 2017 Fuel Season there will be an option for customers in receipt of the Fuel Allowance to receive their payment in 2 lump sums – one at the start of the Season in October and the second at the midway point (January). The value of the lump sums will be €292.50 each, should the rate of the allowance not change in the budget the annual value of the Fuel Allowance is €585.00.
Up until now, the Fuel Allowance has been paid on a weekly basis between October and April. The rate of payment is €22.50 per week which amounts to €585 per fuel allowance season. Fuel Allowance is a means assessed payment to assist householders receiving long-term social welfare payments unable to provide for their own heating needs.
Addressing the Department of Social Protection’s Pre-Budget Forum in Dublin Castle, Minister Doherty said: “I am pleased to announce that from October when the new Fuel Season begins, our customers who receive the Fuel Allowance will have the option to receive their payment in two lump sums – one at the start of the fuel season in October and the second in January. The value of the lump sums will be €292.50 each.
“I understand that a number of representative groups who attend the Pre-Budget Forum every year have suggested that the Department should consider offering a lump sum facility to customers of the Fuel Allowance. I believe that it should be used on a trial basis for the next fuel season to enable people to buy fuel in bulk and potentially avail of special offers or discounts on the purchase of the particular fuel that meets their specific needs.”
For the first issue of the lump sum in October 2017 a cut-off date of 15th September will be advertised. Customers who submit their forms after this date cannot be guaranteed that they will receive the lump sum in October, but their weekly payment of the Allowance will continue until the January lump sum issue date.
Application forms are being distributed to Intreo offices, Branch offices, CIC’s, Longford and Sligo offices.
A study carried out by the Department of Social Protection last year showed that the difference in price for a customer buying between 20 and 25 litres of kerosene was on average, 11% per litre more expensive than for a customer who bought greater quantities e.g. 400 litres while people who were in a position to buy multiple bags of coal could in some instances get them for as much €3 per bag cheaper.
Expenditure on the Fuel Allowance for 2016/2017 is estimated at €229 million, benefiting approx. 376,000 households.
A person may qualify for a Fuel Allowance if they are receiving one of the following payments directly from the Department of Social Protection:
- State Pension (Contributory/Non Contributory)
- Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Pension (Contributory/Non Contributory)
- Incapacity Supplement under the Occupational Injuries Benefit scheme
- Blind Pension
- Invalidity Pension
- Disability Allowance
- Deserted Wife’s Benefit or Allowance
- One-Parent Family Payment
- Guardian’s Payment (Contributory/ Non Contributory)
- Farm Assist
- Jobseeker’s Allowance over 15 months
- Jobseeker’s Allowance Transition
- Death Benefit Pension under the Occupational Injuries Benefit Scheme
- Social Security Pension from a country covered by EU Regulations or a country with whom Ireland has a bilateral social security agreement (provided there is an equivalent Irish payment).
- Back to Work Enterprise Allowance
As the Rural Social Scheme, Tus, Gateway and CE customers are not paid directly by the Department of Social Protection, the Fuel Allowance trial option will not apply to them but they will be considered further if the option is continued in the future.
21st JULY 2017