Back to school clothing and footwear allowance -
The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BTSCFA) helps you meet the cost of uniforms and footwear for children going to school. The scheme operates from June to September each year. The scheme is open from 1 June to 30 September. Application forms can be downloaded from http://www.welfare.ie/ or from your local social welfare office.
In order to receive the allowance your total household income must be below a certain amount. The child/student must be aged between 2 and 22 on or before 30 September of the year you apply and must be in full-time education at a recognised school or college.
The allowance paid for each eligible child aged 2-11 on or before 30 September 2011 is €200. The allowance paid for each eligible child aged 12-22 on or before 30 September 2011 is €305.
You may qualify for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance if you are:
- Getting a social welfare payment (including Family Income Supplement) or a Health Service Executive payment, or
- Taking part in an approved employment scheme, or
- Taking part in a recognised education or training course, or
- Involved in an Area Partnership Scheme, or
- Attending a FÁS, Fáilte Ireland or LES training scheme.
Back to Education Allowance -
If you are unemployed, getting a One-Parent Family Payment or have a disability, you may attend a second-or third-level education course and get the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA). This weekly Allowance is paid at a standard rate and is not means-tested. However, the increase you get for a qualified adult may be means-tested if your spouse/partner has earnings.
Cost of education allowance -
In addition to your weekly BTEA payment, you also get an annual Cost of Education Allowance of €500, which is paid at the start of each academic year.
If you qualify for the Back to Education Allowance, you can keep your entitlement to any secondary benefits you already have, for example, Fuel Allowance, Rent Supplement and Mortgage Interest Supplement. However, any increase in income may affect your entitlement to Rent/Mortgage Interest Supplement or the amount of supplement you get. For example, this can happen if you move from a reduced social welfare payment to the standard BTEA rate.
From September 2010, you cannot get the Back to Education Allowance and student maintenance grant together, if you:
- Have been getting BTEA and are moving or progressing to a new course or are a new BTEA applicant.
You must be at least 21 years of age (24 years of age for a third-level postgraduate course) to qualify for the Back to Education Allowance. If you wish to attend a third level course you must be getting one of the social welfare payments listed below for 9 months (234 days of unemployment*) immediately before you start the course.
How to apply: When you are accepted on a course, you should notify the Department of Social Protection by filling in the Back to Education Allowance application form, which is also available from your Social Welfare Local Office and return it to them.