The national fuel allowance scheme for the 2022/23 season will help many households in Waterford with their winter heating costs, Fine Gael Senator John Cummins has said.
Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys TD, has announced the start of the National Fuel Allowance Scheme, which will be paid over 28 weeks.
Fine Gael Senator John Cummins has confirmed the Fuel Allowance will be paid for 28 weeks to 11,948 people in Waterford, with many more people in Waterford to qualify this year.
“11,948 people in Waterford who are entitled to the Fuel Allowance will now be able to avail of it as we approach the winter.
“The payment is made at the weekly rate of €33 or, by way of two lump sum payments if people prefer.
“In Budget 2023 my colleague Minister Humphreys also ensured a €400 additional Lump Sum payment for all households in receipt of the Fuel Allowance Payment. This will be paid the week commencing 14th November 2022. This will bring the total value of the Fuel Allowance to €1,324 per household.
“In addition, as part of Budget 2023, Minister Humphreys secured funding for the largest ever expansion of the Fuel Allowance scheme. This expansion will bring an many more Waterford households (81,000 more nationally) into the scheme. This will be of particular benefit for older people with a new Means Test taking effect for Over 70s from January.
“Under this new over 70s means test, a single person can have income of €500 per week and a couple can have income of €1000 per week. In the case of a couple where one person is under 70 and one person is over 70, they will be assessed under the Over 70s Means Test 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 State Pension Contributory.
“We in Fine Gael know that times are tough and we are ensuring we put more money in your pocket to help reduce the impact of the higher cost of living.”
The Department of Social Protection is now working on developing the necessary IT systems and application forms to give effect to these changes from January.
Minister Humphreys added: “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. For that reason, I am introducing a new Over 70s Means Test for Fuel Allowance from January. Under this, a single person can have income of €500 per week and a couple can have income of €1,000 per week and still qualify for Fuel Allowance.
“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 persons Over 70 will be able to benefit from these changes from January.
“We have also increased the weekly means threshold for those aged under 70 by €80 per week. Combined it is estimated these changes will bring an extra 81,000 households into the Fuel Allowance Scheme which represents the largest ever expansion of the Scheme.
“As part of the Budget, I secured approval for a range of other Lump Sum Payments to support our pensioners, carers, people with disabilities and working families and I will be setting out the timetable for these payments in the coming days.”