Councillor calls for extension of fuel allowance to help the elderly

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Galway Daily news councillor calls for extension of the fuel allowance

A City Councillor is calling on the government to extend the fuel allowance for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic to look after the elderly.

The fuel allowance is a means tested payment to people receiving long term social welfare payments, such as the state pension, to help them with the cost of heating in the winter months.

The fuel allowance normally runs from October to April each year, but Councillor Alan Cheevers has said that it should be extended as the elderly as being told to stay in their homes.

“It’s important that the elderly members of our community are comfortable in their homes,” councillor Cheevers said, as they are being asked to stay more cocooned than others on lockdown.

The Taoiseach announced a nationwide lockdown last week as measures to combat the spread of coronavirus were ramped out, with people to remain in their homes except for limited circumstances.

As part of those measures, the government also introduced cocooning for people over the age of 70, with the HSE issuing guidelines for them to minimise all human contact.

During this time older people will “undoubtedly” use more fuel an rack up larger bills he said.

The Fianna Fáil councillor said that the state pension is the only source of income for many, leaving people worried about their finances.

While the country is in lockdown, and people’s focus is on staying safe and healthy, “They shouldn’t have to choose to turn on their on heat or buy food,” he added.