Tuesday 24 April 2018

Emergency extra fuel payment for older people to be agreed by Government

STOCK IMAGE
STOCK IMAGE

Independent.ie Newsdesk and Kevin Doyle, Group Political Editor

AN EMERGENCY payment for older people who need to stock up on fuel ahead of the ‘Beast from the East’ is to be agreed by the Government, Independent.ie understands.

Sources say Cabinet ministers have this morning discussed an increase in the weekly fuel of €22.50.

It is expected that the Department of Social Protection will be tasked with administering an extra payment in some cases.

It comes after Minister for Older People Jim Daly sparked call for the payment to be doubled after advising pensioners to leave their heat on 24 hours a day if necessary during the cold snap.

“Extra spending on fuel is covered by many schemes. If money is a problem, you can take advantage of current welfare schemes,” he said.

Mr Daly was criticised from some quarters for the comments but it now appears the Government will find money to increase the fuel allowance on a one-off basis.

A number of sources confirmed to Independent.ie that an announcement is expected later today.

In a response to Independent.ie earlier today, Minister Daly said: "I strongly advise the elderly to take extra precautions with the severe weather that is predicted to strike the country over the coming days, keeping their heat on for 24 hours over the next few days will ensure that nobody gets seriously ill or worse. Groups advocating for the elderly have echoed my sentiments and are encouraging all to take these extra precautions. The Department of Social Welfare have payment schemes in place such as Urgent Needs Supplementary Payment’ and the Exceptional Needs Payment for exceptional circumstances for people who cannot afford the cost of purchase. I would reiterate that those concerned can call the senior line telephone service on 1800 804591 or Citizens Information on 0761 074000 which will inform them of their rights."

Earlier, Age Action issued the following advice for older people ahead of the predicted Arctic weather.

In order to stay well and warm this winter older people should also take the following steps:

  • Dress correctly – wear layers, rather than one thick layer of clothing. Maybe wear a woollen or fleece hat in bed.
  • Remain active – don’t stay sitting for long periods. Spread your chores throughout the day to ensure to keep moving around your home.
  • Eat well – have at least one hot meal a day. Sip hot drinks regularly. Keep a flask of hot drink by the bed, in case you wake up cold.
  • Seal gaps around windows and doors.
  • Remain in contact with your family and friends, including other older people.

Keep safe and warm, but if you are out in Storm Emma we'd love to see your photos and videos. Send by email to contact@independent.ie or Whatsapp to 0871847169

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