Thursday, 11 March 2021

Questions (139)

Joe Flaherty

Question:

139. Deputy Joe Flaherty asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of pensioners in receipt of the fuel allowance that are also paying the local property tax; and the value of local property tax collected in cases in which the payee is also in receipt of the fuel allowance. [13785/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

Fuel Allowance is a means tested payment to assist pensioners and other long-term social welfare dependent householders with their winter heating costs. The payment is a contribution towards heating costs. It is not intended to meet these costs in full. The payment is made at the weekly rate of €28.00; or if preferred, by way of two lump sum payments; and is paid over the winter season (28 weeks in the 2020/2021 fuel allowance season). Only one Fuel Allowance is payable per household.

The Revenue Commissioners have agreed an arrangement with my Department whereby deductions in respect of Local Property Tax (LPT) may be made from nine long term, stable social welfare scheme payments. This is a voluntary arrangement directly between the customer and the Revenue Commissioners, with the deductions facilitated by my Department at the request of the customer.

My Department has an obligation to safeguard customer payments and to ensure that deductions in respect of LPT do not cause undue financial hardship to the customer. Accordingly, deductions are not taken from a customer’s payment where this would reduce their weekly personal rate below the Supplementary Welfare Allowance personal rate, which is currently set at €201.00 per week.

As at the end of February 2021, there are 131,433 state pension (contributory and non-contributory) recipients in receipt of Fuel Allowance. Of these, 7,453 have chosen to pay their Local Property Tax by way of deduction from their state pension (contributory/non-contributory) payment.

It is only possible to estimate the average rate of weekly voluntary LPT deduction from state (contributory and non-contributory) pension payments of those who also receive Fuel Allowance. The best estimate is that the deducted amount is on average under €6.00 per week.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.