The National Fuel Scheme payments start on 8th October 2012. They’re not back dated, so if you are entitled to help, you need to apply now. Cecilia Smith, Development Manager at County Cavan Citizens Information Service tells you how …
Question: What social welfare support is there to help with heating costs in the winter?
Answer: The National Fuel Scheme, operated by the Department of Social Protection, is intended to help people who are dependent on long-term social welfare payments as their sole income and who are unable to meet their heating needs.
Under the scheme a Fuel Allowance of €20 per week is paid during the fuel season. The fuel season for 2012/2013 starts on Monday 8th October 2012 and finishes on Friday 5th April 2013.
The Fuel Allowance is a means-tested payment. If you are only getting a non-contributory payment you are accepted as satisfying the means test.
The Fuel Allowance means test is linked to the maximum rate of the State Pension (Contributory). You can have a combined weekly income of €100 above the maximum State Pension (Contributory) for your situation and still be eligible for a Fuel Allowance. This means that you can have capital/savings, providing they are less than €58,000, and be eligible for a Fuel Allowance. (€58,000 is equivalent to just over €100 a week under the capital means assessment rules.)
For example, someone without any savings, but working part-time, who is receiving a Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension of €193.50 per week should qualify if his/her weekly income does not exceed €330.30 (State Pension maximum rate €230.30 plus €100).
Where two or more people living in the same household qualify for the allowance, only one allowance is paid.
If you think you are eligible, you should apply immediately as the allowance will not be backdated. Application forms (NFS1) are available at your post office or your local social welfare office, or on the Department’s website, www.welfare.ie.
For further information call Citizens Information Service, Townhall Street, Cavan on 076 107 5200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org