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Social Welfare Payments

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 25 November 2021

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Questions (33)

John Lahart

Question:

33. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons availing of the fuel allowance, by main social welfare payment, in tabular form; her plans to extend eligibility for the scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [58005/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The table below provides the number of Fuel Allowance recipients by scheme name, as at the end of October 2021, as requested by the Deputy.

Primary Payment

Recipients

State Pension (Contributory)

77,499

Disability Allowance

76,987

State Pension (Non-Contributory)

54,532

Long-term Jobseeker’s Allowance, PRETA + Farm Assist

44,172

Widow/er's or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory) Pension

41,101

One-Parent Family Payment

39,315

Invalidity Pension

16,456

Community Employment Scheme

7,995

Deserted Wife's Benefit

2,722

TUS

2,344

Rural Social Scheme

1,238

National Fuel Scheme (EU / Bilateral Payments)

1,029

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

940

Widow/er's or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-Contributory) Pension

859

Back To Work Allowance

612

Occupational Injuries / Death Benefit + Incapacity Supplement

507

Blind Person's Pension

431

Deserted Wife's Allowance

46

Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)

8

Guardian's Payment (Contributory)

6

Qualifying payments for Fuel Allowance are those payments that are considered long-term payments and the applicant must also satisfy a means test.

In Budget 2022, I announced a number of measures in relation to the Fuel Allowance scheme which includes a €5 increase in the weekly rate of payment to bring the weekly rate up to €33, an increase in the allowable means by €20 to €120 above the appropriate maximum State Pension (contributory) rate, and an enhancement in the eligibility conditions for Jobseekers and Supplementary Welfare Allowance recipients by reducing the qualifying period from 15 to 12 months. The first two measures apply from Budget Day, and the final measure takes effect from September 2022.

With regard to the revised means test increasing the weekly threshold by €20 to €120, representing a 20% increase enabling more people to qualify for this support, the original intention was to introduce this measure from January 2022. Cognisant of rising fuel costs, I asked my officials to prioritise the work required so that this change could be implemented at the same time as the increase in the Fuel Allowance rate in October 2021. I am happy to tell the Deputy that this work will be completed at the end of this week (Friday 26 November), with the effective date for the implementation of the revised means test now backdated to the Budget.

The criteria for Fuel Allowance are framed in order to direct the resources available to my Department in as targeted a manner as possible. While my Department's schemes are kept under constant review, any further extension of the Fuel Allowance qualifying criteria can only be considered while taking account of the overall budgetary context and the availability of financial resources.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Question No. 34 answered with Question No. 29.
Question No. 35 answered with Question No. 31.
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