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Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance 2009

back-to-schoolBack to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance or BTSCFA  is designed to help Irish families to meet the cost of uniforms and footwear for children between 2 and 22 years, attending school before  October 1st. of the year you apply. The scheme operates from 1 June to 30 September each year and is provided by the Health Service Executive (HSE) as part of the Supplementary Welfare Scheme.

Conditions:

To obtain this allowance, you being a parent or guardian, must meet a number of conditions:

  1. Applicants must be getting certain Social Welfare payments or payments for training, employment schemes or adult education.
  2. Your total household income must be below an agreed amount.
  3. The child/student must be in full-time education at a recognised school or college.

Qualifing Rules for Application

You may qualify for this allowance if you are in one of the following groups:

  1. Getting a Social Welfare payment (including Family Income Supplement) or a Health Service Executive payment.
  2. You are taking part in an approved employment scheme.
  3. You are involved in an Area Partnership Scheme.
  4. You are taking part in a recognised education or training course.
  5. You are attending a FÁS, Fáilte Ireland or LES training scheme.

Income limits

Total household income must be below the amounts shown below. Your total household income is your main social welfare or Health Service Executive payment, the income of any dependent children on Youthreach and any other income you may have including wages (before tax, but excluding PRSI and reasonable travelling expenses). 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

All income obtained from Rent Supplement or Mortgage Interest Supplement, Family Income Supplement, Blind Welfare Allowance, Rehabilitative Training Allowance, rehabilitative employment (up to €120 per week), Home Help, Domiciliary Care Allowance, Mobility Allowance and Higher Education Grants Schemes, are not calculated.

Couple with Income limit in 2009

1 child €560
2 children €586
3 children €612
4 children €638

Lone parent with Income limit in 2009

1 child €407
2 children €433
3 children €459
4 children €485

In both cases the income limit is increased by €26 for each additional child.

People on ‘Back to Education Allowance’ or VTOS

Applicants can apply for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance and will be assessed using the standard rules and the total household income must be below the income already shown above.

People on certain back to work schemes

Some special conditions apply for people who are on Back to Work Allowance (Employees), Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, Community Employment, Job Initiative, Revenue Job Assist, Rural Social Scheme and the Community Services Programme/Social Economy Programme (Grant Aided Employees). If applicants were on a social welfare or Health Service Executive 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. Failing to qualify using the standard means test, you can 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.

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

Rates

Rate of the allowance paid for each eligible child aged 2-11 before 1st October 2009 is €200.
Rate of the allowance paid for each eligible child aged 12-17 before 1st October 2009 is €305.

Rate for each child aged 18-22 is also paid at the higher rate, if you are getting an increase for a child dependant for that child and he/she is in full-time education. As a special measure introduced in Budget 2009, an additional amount of €215 is paid for children aged 18 getting half rate Child Benefit. This means, a child aged 18 getting half rate Child Benefit will get a Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance of €520.

How to apply

Remember the scheme is open only from 1 June to 30 September. To apply, fill in a Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance form which can be obtained at your local health centre or text FORM BTSCFA followed by your name and address to 51909 (standard text rates will apply).
Remember it will take a number of weeks to process your application in full.

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