Local Independent councillor Jim Tenanty is urging parents to look into whether they are eligible for this year’s Back To School Allowance.
The scheme is available to help pay for clothing and footwear ahead of the new 2017/18 academic year. The allowance provides a once-off payment to eligible families to assist with extra costs, in this case for uniforms, as children start school again in September.
The rates of payment are €125 for children between the ages of four and 11 and €250 for children from 12 years of age. These are €25 and €50 increases on previous years’ payments.
The total budget provision for the scheme in 2017 is €47.4 million, up €10 million from the original allocation. Application forms are now available on Welfare.ie and Tenanty says parents should move quickly to see if they are eligible for payments.
“The scheme is a huge help to parents who have exhaustive Back-To-School costs every year. It is well worth filling out the form and getting the applications in as soon as possible because shops are already displaying their uniform stock,” he said. The closing date for applications is September 30th 2017.
The Department of Social Protection pays BSCFA automatically to many customers, meaning that they do not have to apply for the payment. If you qualify automatically, you should receive a letter stating when and how your allowance will be paid. In order to qualify, a parent must be getting certain social welfare payments or taking part in training, employment or adult education schemes.
All applicants will be means-tested before a decision is made on their application. Forms and more information are available by clicking the link here or by calling into the local Social Welfare office.
Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty said last month that the increase in funding can make a real difference to families. “The costs associated with children both starting and returning to school can put a lot of financial pressure on families throughout the country.”
This payment can make a real difference in helping families and is available for schoolchildren from the age of four in primary school up to age 22 for students who are in second level education. I want to strongly encourage families to find out more about their eligibility,” she said.