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22.50 welfare top-up as winter chill sets in 30.09.16

DONEGAL welfare recipients will get a weekly top-up of 22.50 euro in their payment from Monday as the Winter Fuel Allowance begins.
The seasonal top-up includes a 2.50 euro increase in the payment announced in last year's budget.
Some 410,000 welfare recipients across Ireland including pensioners and long-term unemployed will receive the fuel allowance along with their usual weekly payment from October 3, 2016 to April 3, 2017.
The allowance, made under the National Fuel Scheme, was reduced by six weeks to 26 weeks four years ago, as austerity dominated budgets during the downturn.
Advocates for the elderly have urged the Government to tackle these cuts in Budget 2017 to be delivered on October 11.
Age Action has urged Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar to "begin to reverse the six weeks cut from the Fuel Allowance by extending the scheme by four weeks" at a cost of 35 million.
The elderly charity's pre-budget submission also pushes for a clause allowing households reliant on home heating oil to receive the payment in two lump sums.
Only one fuel allowance is paid per qualifying household and it is subject to a number of conditions including means test.
Anyone who feels they may be entitled to the extra cash this winter should apply immediately as it is not backdated.
Meanwhile, oil consumers have enjoyed hundreds of euro in savings in their home heating bills in recent years.
Irish households were paying an average of about 850 euro per 1,000 litres of home heating oil in 2013.
This compares to a current national average of about 535 euro per 1,000 litres. The much-needed relief also comes amid a number of price cuts in recent months by electricity and gas suppliers.
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