11/03/2013

131,000 People Could Be Eligible For Fuel Payment

Fine Gael TD for Roscommon/South Leitrim, Frank Feighan, has highlighted that 131,000 Irish people returned from a lifetime of work in the UK could be eligible for the UK Winter Fuel Payment Allowance – worth up to €350 per year.

This follows a recent ruling by the European Court of Justice which ruled that the scheme must be extended to people who worked all their lives in the UK but did not avail of the allowance when living there.

Mr Feighan said: "There are 131,000 Irish pensioners who are eligible for the UK’s Winter Fuel Payment and many of them are not aware of this. The tax-free annual payment ranges between £100 and £300 sterling and I would urge pensioners who spent their lives working in the UK to investigate whether they are eligible for this payment.

"Up to last year, these monies were only paid to Irish people who essentially transferred their Winter Fuel Payments from the UK to Ireland. However, following a ruling by the European Court of Justice in 2012, the qualifying criteria can now be extended to returned Irish people who worked all their lives in the UK but did not avail of the allowance when living there. This significant ruling means eligible Irish people who did not apply for the payment before leaving the UK may now claim while living in Ireland if they meet the qualifying criteria.

"Since 2002, the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions has paid out more than £8.2m (€9.5m) under this scheme to Irish people who returned to these shores after living and working all their lives in the UK. As a result of the European Court of Justice ruling, many more people can avail of this.

"To be eligible for this fuel payment, the only requirement is that a claimant was born on or before July 5th, 1951and have a ‘genuine and sufficient link’ with the UK. Having a British Pension is not a strict qualifying factor but of course, it will be of enormous help when applying. Undoubtedly, many Irish people can easily prove they have lived or worked in the UK for most of their working lives."

(CD)

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