Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance


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Information

The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BTSCFA) 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 in second-level education.

The 2014 scheme opened on 1 June 2014.

In 2014 the Department of Social Protection will pay BTSCFA automatically to many customers with children under 18. This means that many families do not have to apply for the payment. If you qualify automatically for the Allowance you will get a letter telling you when and how your allowance will be paid. You should get this letter by 13 June 2014. If you do not receive an automatic payment you must apply for the Allowance. If any of your children are aged 18 or over you must apply for the Allowance for them and supply evidence that they are in second-level education (even if automatic payments have issued for other children in the family). Application forms are available online (pdf) from 9 June 2014.

The Department of Social Protection will examine all applications received and will post updates to their website on the progress being made in processing these applications. You will get a letter informing you of the decision and, where payment has been awarded, when and how the Allowance will be paid. If the Allowance is refused you will be told how to request a review of the decision.

 

Changes in 2014

In 2014 the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is no longer paid to children aged 18 and over who are in third-level education. It is paid for those aged 18-22 who are in second-level education only, not in third-level education.

Rules

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 (back to work scheme) including JobBridge or
  • Taking part in a recognised education or training course, or
  • Involved in an Area Partnership Scheme, or
  • Attending a SOLAS, Fáilte Ireland or LES training scheme

Your child must be aged between 4-17 on or before 30 September 2014. If they are aged between 18-22 they must be in full-time second-level education in a recognised school or college.

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 BTSCFA 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 BTSCFA for a child that is not resident in the State. Foster children are not eligible for the BTSCFA (because the financial support foster parents receive includes help with the cost of clothing and footwear for the child).

Note that if you have applied for a social welfare payment or are 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 BTSCFA. 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 BTSCFA, because they are under 4).

Your total household income includes your main social welfare or Health Service Executive payment, the income of any dependent children on the Youthreach Programme 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:

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 Rent Supplement or Mortgage Interest Supplement, Family Income Supplement, Blind Welfare Allowance, Rehabilitation Training Allowance, rehabilitative employment (up to €120 per week), Domiciliary Care Allowance, Mobility Allowance and the Student Grant Scheme is not counted.

Income limits for couples 2014

Couple Income limit
1 child €563.60
2 children €593.40
3 children €623.20
4 children €653*

*The income limit is increased by €29.80 for each additional dependent child.

Income limits for lone parents 2014

Lone parent Income limit
1 child €410.10
2 children €439.90
3 children €469.70
4 children €499.50*

*The income limit is increased by €29.80 for each additional dependent child.

Back to Education Allowance or VTOS

If you are getting a Back to Education Allowance or VTOS allowance, you can apply for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance. You will be assessed using the standard rules and your total household income must be less than the income limits.

Back to work schemes

There are some special conditions for people who are on Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, Community Employment, Revenue Job Assist, Rural Social Scheme, Tús and the Community Services Programme/Social Economy Programme (Grant-Aided Employees).

If you were on a social welfare payment before going onto one of these schemes, you will first be assessed using the standard means test for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance.

If you fail to qualify using the standard means test, you will be re-assessed to find out if you can retain the Allowance as a secondary benefit under the different back to work schemes. In the re-assessment you can keep your entitlement to the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (or apply for it if you did not have an eligible child before now), as long as your gross household income is less than €317.43.

In the re-assessment of means, the value of the Back to Enterprise Allowance and Family Income Supplement is not taken into account in the calculation of your gross household income. The people most likely to qualify using the secondary benefit (€317.43) assessment are people getting a Back to Work Enterprise Allowance.

Rates

The allowance paid for each eligible child aged 4-11 on or before 30 September 2014 is €100.

The allowance paid for each eligible child aged 12-22 on or before 30 September 2014 is €200. Children aged between 18 and 22 years must be in full-time second-level education in a recognised school or college.

How to apply

The scheme is open from 1 June to 30 September 2014. The scheme is now open.

Application forms are available online (pdf). You can also get an application form in all social welfare offices and Intreo centres, via SMS (text “Form BTSCFA” followed by your name and address to 51909) or you may email the Department at BSCFA@welfare.ie.

Where to apply

Completed application forms with supporting documentation should be returned to:

 

 

Department of Social Protection

PO Box 131
Letterkenny
Co. Donegal

Locall:1890 66 22 44

It may take a number of weeks to process your application.

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 Social Protection

Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance Review Section
PO Box 131
Letterkenny
Co. Donegal

Last modified:23/07/2014
 

 Processing Dates

 

​The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance Section are currently processing claims received on 18th July 2014

 

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