Budget 2022 must widen eligibility for Fuel Allowance as energy prices soar – Claire Kerrane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection Claire Kerrane TD has said that raising the Fuel Allowance in this year’s Budget will not be enough for families struggling with rising energy prices.
Raising the issue with the Tánaiste in the Dáil today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“It was reported last week that families face paying €400 more for their electricity and heating this winter.
“It has been confirmed that your Government will look at increases to the Fuel Allowance in the Budget however, the Fuel Allowance is very limited.
“There is a wait time for people who lose their job. They have to be in receipt of a Jobseekers’ payment for 15 months before they qualify for the Fuel Allowance. This rule needs to be suspended.
“Workers who have to leave work due to illness and receive Illness Benefit do not qualify for the Fuel Allowance. This will also impact on workers who contracted Covid-19 and are suffering with long term Covid meaning they have been unable to return to work.
“We also need to consider others locked out of the Fuel Allowance who are struggling with rising utility bill costs and in some cases, debt.
“On that, I would ask that consideration be given to the establishment of a Covid-19 discretionary fund to assist households with heating and electricity costs, especially those who find themselves struggling with debt.
“I welcome that the Tánaiste agreed that the discretionary fund should be looked at and I hope that it will form part of Budget 2022. I also welcome that the Tánaiste has said that eligibility around the Fuel Allowance will be examined.
“We know that energy poverty is a growing problem across the State, energy prices are soaring and further carbon tax increases will add to this. Households most at risk must be protected in next month’s Budget.”