Free schemes entitlements

You may be entitled to receive one of the following Allowances from the Department of Social, community and Family Affairs:

Only one allowance is payable per household. If you qualify for any of these allowances, you automatically qualify for a free colour television licence when your current licence becomes due for renewal.

If you choose to receive either the free electricity or the free natural gas allowance, the meter account in your home must be in your own name. This is to enable the ESB or Bord Gáis to credit the allowance to your account.

To qualify for these allowances you must live alone or only with certain other people. These are:

  • Your Qualified adult.
  • Your Dependent child(ren) under 18 or under 22 if in full time education.
  • Other people who would qualify for the allowance in their own right.
  • Other people with disabilities (medical evidence may be required).
  • A person providing you, (or another person living with you), with constant care and attention if you or that other person has a disability. People in employment or getting Unemployment Benefit or Assistance are not accepted by the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs as providing constant care and attention.

Free Electricity Allowance

The Free Electricity Allowance covers the normal standing charges on your electricity meter and provides you with 1,800 units of free electricity each year. If you do not use your free units in any billing period, you may carry forward your unused units for use in later periods. You may be able to carry forward unused units from a billing period.

If you also have a Nightsaver meter, you can choose to have your unused free units offset against the electricity usage on that meter. This offset is done by the ESB once a year - usually before the beginning of Winter.

For further information about Free Electricity, you should contact Free Schemes Section, Pensions Services Office, Sligo. The telephone number is LoCall 1890 500 000 or, for persons calling from outside the Republic of Ireland: +353 71 915 7100.

Free Natural Gas Allowance

If you live in an area served by natural gas you may choose to receive the Free Natural Gas Allowance instead of the electricity allowance. The conditions for getting this allowance are the same as for free electricity.

Natural gas can be paid for in different ways:

  • Standard Rate Tariff.
  • Reducing Tariff.
  • Other Commitment Tariffs.

The allowance is payable for any of the three methods of payment.

For further information about these allowances, you should contact Free Schemes Section, Pensions Services Office, Sligo. The telephone number is LoCall 1890 500 000 or, for persons calling from outside the Republic of Ireland: +353 71 915 7100.

Free Bottled Gas Refill Allowance

If your home is not connected to an electricity or natural gas supply, you may qualify for a Free Bottled Gas Refill Allowance. The conditions for getting this allowance are the same as for free electricity. This allowance is paid by a book of vouchers. The number of vouchers you will get is 15 vouchers per year.

Each voucher can be exchanged for a standard cylinder of gas at a retail outlet of your choice. The allowance does not provide for the cost of buying or hiring empty cylinders or for the delivery of cylinders of gas.

For further information about this allowance, you should contact Free Schemes Section, Pensions Services Office, Sligo. The telephone number is LoCall 1890 500 000 or, for persons calling from outside the Republic of Ireland: +353 71 915 7100.

Free Electricity (Group Account) Allowance

You may be entitled to get this allowance if you are living in self-contained accommodation, i.e., a flat or apartment. The conditions for receipt of this allowance are the same as for receipt of Free Electricity Allowance. This allowance is paid if:

  • You have your own electricity slot meter or,
  • You have your own separate electricity meter operating from a central ESB meter, where the registered consumer of electricity is a landlord or,
  • There are no separate meters, but the registered consumer of electricity at your address is a landlord.

The allowance is paid by a book of monthly payable orders, which may be cashed at your local Post Office, and used to pay your electricity costs.

Free Telephone Rental Allowance

This allowance covers the normal two-monthly rental charge on your telephone line as well as the rental on a standard telephone handset. It also covers call usage up to the value of €2.42 (excluding VAT) in each two monthly billing period. The allowance may also cover the rental charge on certain additional equipment, such as a second telephone socket. It may only be awarded if the telephone is registered in your name.

In order to qualify for the allowance you must live either entirely alone or only with certain other people:

  • Qualified Adult. Medical evidence must be provided for either yourself or your partner.
  • Dependant child(ren) under age 18 or under age 22 if in full-time education.
  • Another person who is getting one of a number of specified social welfare payments. Medical evidence may be required.
  • Other people with disabilities. Medical evidence must be provided.
  • A person providing you, or another person living with you, with constant care and attention if you or that other person has a disability. People in employment or getting Unemployment Benefit or Assistance cannot be accepted as providing constant care and attention.

For further information about this allowance, you should contact Free Schemes Section, Pensions Services Office, Sligo. The telephone number is Tel: LoCall 1890 500 000 or, for persons calling from outside the Republic of Ireland: +353 71 915 7100.

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