Question - I hear it’s going to be another cold winter. I am on a very low income. What help is available for the costs of heating my home?
Low-income households can get help with the costs of fuel for home heating. There are also schemes to help you insulate your home to make it warmer and to cut your heating costs.
A Fuel Allowance of €20 per week is paid to people who are dependent on long-term social welfare payments and who are unable to provide for their own heating needs. The scheme operates for 26 weeks from October to April. If you are getting certain social welfare payments or are over 70 you may qualify for the Household Benefits Package which includes an electricity or natural gas allowance.
The Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme aims to improve the energy efficiency and warmth of homes owned by people on low incomes. It is operated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), and is available nationwide. You must be a homeowner and your home must have been built before 2002. You are eligible if you are getting Fuel Allowance or Family Income Supplement, or if you have children under 7 and are getting Jobseeker’s Allowance for 6 months or more.
If you live in private rented accommodation your landlord may be able to get a grant under the separate Better Energy Homes scheme to make your home warmer and more energy efficient.
The work funded under both of these schemes includes attic insulation, draught-proofing, lagging jackets, low-energy light bulbs and cavity wall insulation. You can also get energy advice.
The wellandwarm.ie website gives advice on keeping warm in the winter and gives details of services available to people who may struggle to keep their houses warm. You can also get a Keeping well and warm booklet by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1800 250 204. Winterready.ie also gives advice on coping with bad weather.
Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.
Know Your Rights has been compiled by Thurles Citizens Information Service, which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761076510 Address: 34/35 croke Street Thurles.
Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000