Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance

Introduction

The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BTSCFA) helps you meet the cost of uniforms and footwear for children going to school.

The 2019 scheme opens on 1 June 2019. However, application forms will be available from 24 June 2019.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection pays the BTSCFA automatically to many families. This means that they do not have to apply for the payment. If you qualify automatically, you will receive your payment the week beginning 8 July 2019.

You will need to apply to the Department if you have not received a payment notification letter by the end of June 2019 - see ‘How to apply’ below.

Rules

You may qualify for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance if you are:

  • Getting a social welfare payment (including Working Family Payment and Back to Work Family Dividend) or a Health Service Executive payment, or
  • Taking part in an approved employment scheme (back to work scheme) or
  • Taking part in a recognised education or training course, or
  • Getting a Daily Expenses Allowance (formerly called Direct Provision Allowance) for a child in education (or for yourself if you are 18-22 and returning to full-time second-level education), or
  • Involved in an Area Partnership Scheme, or
  • Attending a FET (formerly Fás) or Fáilte Ireland training course

Your child must be aged between 4-17 on or before 30 September 2019. If they are aged between 18-22 they must be returning to full-time second-level education in a recognised school or college in the autumn of 2019.

In general, you must be getting an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) with your payment. There are some exceptions to this. For example, you may be getting a qualifying payment but you are not getting an increase for your child (because the rules of the scheme do not provide for a child payment) – Maternity Benefit or Adoptive Benefit are examples. In such cases you can still claim BSCFA if you satisfy the other criteria. In other cases an IQC is not paid because the income of your spouse or partner is over the specified limits but if your overall household income is within the limits specified below you may qualify. You cannot claim BSCFA for a child who is not resident in the State. Foster children are not eligible for the BSCFA because the financial support parents get from Tusla - the Child and Family Agency (Foster Care Allowance) includes help with the cost of clothing and footwear for the child.

Note that if you have applied for a social welfare payment, or have appealed a decision not to award you a social welfare payment and are waiting for a decision on your application, you should apply for the BSCFA before the scheme closes. Your entitlement will be established when you get a decision on your application or appeal.

Income limits

To qualify for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance, your total household income must be less than the amounts set out in the table below. All your dependent children are taken into account for the income limits (including children who do not qualify for BSCFA because they are aged under 4).

Your total household income includes your main social welfare or Health Service Executive payment and any other income you may have including wages (before tax, but excluding PRSI and a standard travel allowance of up to €20 per week), maintenance, savings and investments.

Savings and investments (including property, but not your home) are assessed as follows:

Savings and investments assessment
Capital Weekly means assessed
First €5,000 not taken into account
Next €10,000 €1 per €1,000
Next €25,000 €2 per €1,000
Balance €4 per €1,000


Any income you get from Child Benefit, Rent Supplement or other income supplement (formerly Mortgage Interest Supplement), Working Family Payment, guardian's payments, Blind Welfare Allowance, Rehabilitation Training Allowance, rehabilitative employment (up to €120 per week), Domiciliary Care Allowance and Mobility Allowance is not counted.

Weekly income limits for couples 2019
Couple Income limit
1 child €600.70
2 children €637.70
3 children €674.70
4 children €711.70*

*The income limit is increased by €37 for each additional dependent child.

Weekly income limits for lone parents 2019
Lone parent Income limit
1 child €435.30
2 children €472.30
3 children €509.30
4 children €546.30*

*The income limit is increased by €37 for each additional dependent child.

Rates

The allowance paid for each eligible child aged 4-11 on or before 30 September 2019 is €150.

The allowance paid for each eligible child aged 12-22 on or before 30 September 2019 is €275. Children aged between 18 and 22 years must be returning to full-time second-level education in a recognised school or college in the autumn of 2019.

How to apply

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection pays the BTSCFA automatically to many families. If you qualify automatically, you will receive your payment in the week beginning 8 July 2019.

If you do not get an automatic payment you must apply for the Allowance. Application forms will be available from 24 June 2019 or you can apply online from 1 July 2019 (see 'Where to apply' below).

If any of your children are aged 18 or over, you must apply for the Allowance for them and confirm that they are returning to second-level education in the autumn of 2019 (even if automatic payments have issued for other children in the family).

The closing date for applications is 30 September 2019.

Where to apply

From 24 June 2019, Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance application forms are available from your Intreo Centre, local Social Welfare Branch Office and Citizens Information Centres.

From 24 June 2019, you can download a BTSCFA application form (pdf) or request an application form by texting Form BTSCFA followed by your name and address to 51909 or by emailing BSCFA@welfare.ie.

From 1 July 2019, you can apply online using mywelfare.ie. You must have a Public Services Card and a verified MyGovID account to apply online.

You can get help with filling in your application form at your Intreo Centre, Social Welfare Branch Office or nearest Citizens Information Centre.

You should return your completed application form and supporting documentation to:

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Services
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
College Road
Sligo
F91 T384

Tel: (071) 919 3318
Locall: 1890 66 22 44 (Note: the rates charged for using 1890 (Lo-call) numbers may vary)

Reviews

If you are unhappy with the decision on your application, you should send a letter to the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance Review Section at the address below setting out why you are not happy with the decision and asking that the claim be reviewed. You should request a review within 21 days of getting your decision.

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance Review Section

Social Welfare Services
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
College Road
Sligo
F91 T384

Page edited: 25 June 2019