Fuel allowance €400 lump sum to be paid week of November 14

Fuel allowance €400 lump sum to be paid week of November 14

A new analysis this week found that budget measures may not be enough to ward off energy poverty this winter. File Picture.

The €400 lump sum for those on the fuel allowance will be paid the week of November 14, the social protection minister will announce on Saturday.

Heather Humphreys will mark the beginning of the fuel allowance season on Saturday, announcing the date for when the lump sum included in Budget 2023 will be paid.

In total, across the 28-week season, the fuel allowance will be paid to 371,000 households. Ms Humphreys is also expected to point to the expansion of the fuel allowance scheme, taking effect from January, with a new means test for over-70s which will bring an additional 81,000 households into the scheme.

Under the new means test, a single person can have an income of €500 per week and a couple can have an income of €1,000 per week. In the case of a couple where one person is aged under 70 and one person is over 70, they will be assessed under the over-70s criteria.

The weekly means threshold for those aged under 70 will also be increased by €80 per week, from €120 to €200 above the weekly rate of the State pension.

Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys. Picture: Lorraine Teevan
Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys. Picture: Lorraine Teevan

Ms Humphreys will say today that the payment "plays a vital role in supporting hundreds of thousands of households with their heating costs over the winter months".

She will say that households who are paid the allowance will receive €1,324 across the season. In addition, the expansion of the scheme is being made because many pensioners have found themselves outside the thresholds, according to the minister.

I am very conscious that older people are particularly vulnerable to the cold, however many pensioners currently fall just outside the income thresholds to qualify for fuel allowance," she said. 

"For that reason, I am introducing a new over-70s means test for fuel allowance from January.

“Broadening the eligibility of the fuel allowance to include more older people was a priority for me in the budget, and my department is now working on developing the necessary IT systems and application forms so that people over 70 will be able to benefit from these changes from January."

The increases and changes to the allowance come as a new analysis this week found that budget measures may not be enough to ward off energy poverty this winter. 

Compiled by the Vincentian MESL Research Centre at St Vincent de Paul, it said that the cost of a socially acceptable minimum standard of living will increase by 10% over the full year to 2023, while there will be a “notable increase” in energy poverty next year.

“An additional €400 top-up lump sum is also to be paid in November 2022,” it said. 

“The total value falls €300 short of maintaining the purchasing power of the fuel allowance, and is forecast to contribute to a notable increase in energy poverty in 2023."

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