Thursday, 25 November 2021

Ceisteanna (52)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

52. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons who no longer qualify for the fuel allowance due to their living circumstances changing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and relatives returning to live with them due to care services closing, by county, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [58003/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

The Fuel Allowance is a payment of €33.00 per week for 28 weeks (a total of €924 each year) from October to April, to 369,000 low income households, at an estimated cost of €300 million in 2021. The purpose of this payment is to assist these households with their energy costs. The allowance represents a contribution towards the energy costs of a household. It is not intended to meet those costs in full. Only one allowance is paid per household.

My Department cannot and does not request fuel allowance applicants to provide reasons for changes in their household composition. Accordingly, I cannot provide the information requested by the Deputy.

A person in receipt of fuel allowance must continue to satisfy all qualifying conditions for fuel allowance to remain in payment. It is my understanding that in some of the cases referred to by the Deputy, eligibility is affected because the applicant is in receipt of an additional payment from my Department of half-rate Carer's Allowance, which is paid at a rate which is significantly higher than the rate of fuel allowance.

While my Department's schemes are kept under constant review, any review or 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 hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Question No. 53 answered with Question No. 9.