The school year is over and it won’t be long until September comes around again and the children go back to school – with all the associated costs. The list can seem endless.
Rather than wait for the last frantic weeks in August, it’s a very good idea to start planning now and try and spread the cost of going back to school over the summer.
There are a number of schemes which provide help towards the cost of going to school, as follows:
Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance Scheme:
The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance Scheme helps you to meet the cost of uniforms and footwear for children going to school. The Scheme runs from 1 June 2017 until 30 September 2017.
In general, the rate of the allowance paid for each eligible child aged 4-11 is €100 and aged 12-22 is €200. Payments will be made during the month of July.
Who can apply for this scheme?
There are two ways in which you may qualify for the Scheme:
• You are in receipt of certain social welfare payments
• Your household income is below a certain limit
Social Welfare Payments
You may qualify for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance if you are:
• Getting a social welfare payment (including Family Income Supplement and Back to Work 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
• Involved in an Area Partnership Scheme or
• Attending a FET (formally Fás), Fáilte Ireland or LES Training Scheme.
Please check with your local social welfare office or www.welfare.ie or www.citizensinfomation.ie if you are unsure whether you may have a possible entitlement to the scheme as there are a number of other back to work schemes, training, employment and adult education schemes in which you may be participating on and may qualify for the scheme.
Income limits for the household
To qualify for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance, your total household income must be less that the amounts set out in the table below. So if you are working your gross income is used in the calculation, less PRSI and a standard travel allowance up to €20 per week. Children under the age of 4 are taken into consideration in the composition of the household.
Income limits for Lone
Parents and Couples 2017
Lone parent Couple
Income limit Income limit
1 child €410.10 1 child €563.60
2 children €439.90 2 children €593.40
3 children €469.70 3 children €623.20
4 children €499.50* 4 children €653*
*The income limit is increased by €29.80 for each additional dependent child.
Please check www.welfare.ie or www.citizensinformation.ie to see what is considered in the calculation of household income limit and what household income is excluded in calculating the limit.
Where to Apply
Application forms are available online at www.welfare.ie and in all social protection offices. You can request a form online, via SMS (text Form BTSCFA followed by your name and address to 51909) or by emailing the Department at BSCFA@welfare.ie
MABS, the Money Advice and Budgeting Service is a free, independent, confidential and non-judgmental service which provides advice to individuals or families who are experiencing financial difficulties to deal with their debt problems. We have 51 services around the country. You may contact the MABS Helpline at 076-107200. South Galway MABS at 076-1072570 and North Galway MABS at 076-1072560
Exemption from Examination Fees
If you hold a current medical card then your child is exempt from Junior Cert and Leaving Cert examination fees. Enter the medical card details on the fee payment form and return to the school before the required date.
Remote Areas Boarding Grant
If you live outside the range of public transport services to a school then you may qualify for a boarding grant under the Remote Areas Boarding Grant Scheme. For more information, log on to www.citizensinformation.ie. Follow the below steps to help you plan now for back to school costs.
See next week’s Galway Independent for more tips on meeting back to school costs.