Know Your Rights: Who Qualifies For Fuel Allowance?

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Know Your Rights has been compiled by Kerry Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public…

Question: Who qualifies for Fuel Allowance and how is it paid?

Answer: Fuel Allowance is paid under the National Fuel Scheme, operated by the Department of Social Protection.

It is intended to help people who are dependent on long-term social welfare payments and who are unable to meet their heating needs.

The fuel season usually starts at the end of September and runs for 28 weeks until April of the following year. Under the scheme, a Fuel Allowance of €28.00 per week is generally paid with your social welfare payment.

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In certain circumstances you can also opt to have the total allowance of €784 paid in two equal lump sums. The first lump sum is normally paid in early October and the second payment is in January.

Fuel Allowance is a means-tested payment. If you are getting a non-contributory social welfare payment, you are accepted as satisfying the means test.

You must live alone or with someone who also qualifies for the allowance – you cannot get the allowance if you live with someone who does not qualify.

Where two or more people living in the same household qualify for the allowance, only one allowance is paid. If your heating needs are met in other ways (for example, if you live in local authority housing where heating is provided), you do not qualify for Fuel Allowance.

If you think you are eligible, you should apply immediately because the allowance will not be backdated after the start of the fuel season in October.

The application form for Fuel Allowance (NFS1) is available from your local Citizens Information Centre, post office or by texting FORM FUEL followed by your name and address to 51909.

To get your Fuel Allowance paid in two lump sums, fill in the Change the Payment Frequency form  at least one month before the first lump sum is due.

If you apply for the Fuel Allowance after the start of the Fuel Allowance season, it will not be backdated.

If you are getting a payment from the Department of Social Protection or a social security payment from a country covered by EU Regulations or a country with which Ireland has a bilateral social security agreement, the Fuel Allowance will be included in your weekly payment.

You do not need to reapply for the Fuel Allowance each year as long as your circumstances remain the same and you continue to get the same social welfare payment.

• For anyone needing information, advice or have an advocacy issue, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information team in Kerry on 0761 07 7860, they will be happy to assist and make an appointment if necessary. 

The offices are staffed from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm.  Alternatively you can email on or log on to for further information.

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