Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance

Introduction

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

You (the parent or guardian) must be getting certain social welfare payments or taking part in training, employment or adult education schemes and your child/ren must be aged between 4 and 17 on or before 30 September of the year you apply or aged between 18 and 22 on or before 30 September if still in second-level education.

The scheme for 2018 is now open. The closing date for applications is 30 September 2018.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection pays BSCFA automatically to many customers. This means that they do not have to apply for the payment. If you qualify automatically, you will receive your payment during the week ending 13 July 2018.

Rules

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

Your child must be aged between 4-17 on or before 30 September 2018. 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 2018.

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 on 30 September 2018. 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 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 2018
Couple Income limit
1 child €587.20
2 children €619.00
3 children €650.80
4 children €682.60*

*The income limit is increased by €31.80 for each additional dependent child.

Weekly income limits for lone parents 2018
Lone parent Income limit
1 child €425.10
2 children €456.90
3 children €488.70
4 children €520.50*

*The income limit is increased by €31.80 for each additional dependent child.

Rates

The allowance paid for each eligible child aged 4-11 on or before 30 September 2018 is €125.

The allowance paid for each eligible child aged 12-22 on or before 30 September 2018 is €250. 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 2018.

How to apply

The scheme for 2018 opened on 1 June 2018. The closing date for applications is 30 September 2018.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection pays BSCFA automatically to many customers. If you qualify automatically, you will receive your payment in the week ending 13 July 2018.

If you do not get an automatic payment you must apply for the Allowance. Note that application forms will only be available from 22 June 2018 (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 2018 (even if automatic payments have issued for other children in the family).

Where to apply

From 22 June 2018, Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance application forms will be available from your Intreo Centre, local Social Welfare Branch Office, Citizens Information Centre and online at welfare.ie. An application form can also be requested by SMS (text message) by texting Form BTSCFA followed by your name and address to 51909 or by emailing the Department at BSCFA@welfare.ie.

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

Completed application forms with supporting documentation should be returned 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 (If calling from outside the Republic of Ireland please call +353 71 919 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: 1 June 2018