Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BSCFA)
The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is a one off , means-tested payment aimed at helping families with the extra costs when children start school each autumn.
- The back to school allowance for each eligible child aged 4-11 on or before 30 September 2020 is €150
- The allowance for each eligible child aged 12-22 on or before 30 September 2020 is €275.
- (Children aged between 18 and 22 years must be in full-time second-level education in a recognised school or college.)
- So – for example, someone who qualifies with three children aged 4 , 7 and 13 would get €575.
- Example 2- Someone with 3 children over 12 would get €825
When is it Paid?
The new school year for 2020-2021 is not due to start until at late August 2020 – (this, of course, maybe later because of Covid-19) .
The Back to School Allowance payments are due to be paid during the week beginning 6th July 2020. .
Covid19 Unemployment Payment
It has been confirmed by the Dept. of Social Protection that the Covid Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) will be treated as a qualifying payment for the Back to School Allowance . (As long as claimants satisfy the other criteria.)
Once a person is in receipt of the PUP during the qualifying period 1st June to 30 September, they will be eligible to claim the BSCFA.
There will probably be many more families looking to clam the Back to School Payment this year because of the Covid19 pandemic.
Will it be Paid Automatically ?
The Department of Social Protection pays the Back to School Allowance automatically to most families that qualify.
Anyone that does qualify automatically should get a letter during June 2020 stating when and how your Allowance will be paid.
If you got it last year and your circumstances haven’t changed (apart from extra children or children getting older) – you should get the payment automatically this year again.
If you don’t get a letter telling you about your payment by the end of June – you will need to apply if you think you are eligible.
It is unlikely that people who were working up to March and then went on to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be paid the BSCFA automatically . Social welfare won’t know their full circumstances so they should to apply for it.
( Application details further down the page).
All automatic payments should go out by mid July. But payments for people who have to make new claims could be a lot later than that.
So apply early to reduce delays.
Back to School Allowance Applications
In previous years – the applications for the payment don’t open until after all the award letters have been issued. This page on Gov.ie says that applications will open from July 6th.
There is no mention yet of the Back to School Allowance on the MyWelfare Menu
But we have found a page to apply online for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance here at www.mywelfare.ie.
(It might be taken down and it might not work – let us know if it does !)
(Do NOT apply if you got it last year and your circumstances haven’t changed. )
To apply online you must have a verified MyGovID account. If you do not have a verified MyGovID account you will need to contact the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance section by phone or email.
Paper Application Forms for the Back to School allowance scheme should be available from the end of June 2020.
The official closing date for applications is 30 September 2020
Any person whose circumstances have changed should contact the Department of Social Protection at 0818 11 11 13 or (071) 919 3318 or email email@example.com.
(P.S. There is no longer any need to worry about the cost of 1818 calls )
Who Qualifies for the Back to School Allowance?
To qualify for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance you need to fulfil the criteria below:
- Be getting a “qualifying” social welfare payment (includes Covid PUP, Jobseekers , Working Family Payment and Back to Work Family Dividend) , Full list below. AND
- Be in receipt of an increase for a qualified child (IQC) in respect of each child for whom the allowance is being claimed (This does not apply to Covid payment, Maternity or Adoptive Benefit.)
- Be taking part in an approved employment scheme Back to Work Family Dividend, Youth Employment Support Scheme, Community Employment, Community Services Programme, Tús, Gateway, Short Term Enterprise Allowance, Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, Jobs Initiative, Youthreach, Rural Social Schemes and Springboard Initiative.
- You must also satisfy the household means test
Any income a family gets from Child Benefit, Rent Supplement, Working Family Payment, Guardian’s Payments, Blind Welfare Allowance, Rehabilitation Training Allowance, rehabilitative employment (up to €120 per week), Domiciliary Care Allowance, Mobility Allowance is not counted.
The assessed household weekly income must be below the figures in the table below in order to qualify.
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
So that would mean a couple both getting the €350 a week Pandemic payment (€700 a week total) – with no other income apart from Child Allowance – would only qualify for the Back to School payment if they had 4 or more children.
A couple with only one person getting the €350 a week pandemic payment plus Child Benefit would qualify for the Back to School allowance with 1 child or more. (Same applies to a lone parent).
Savings and property are taken into account . Full details of how assessed income is calculated can be seen here
BSCFA is not payable in respect of foster children. The financial support given to foster parents from Tusla already includes assistance with the cost of clothing and footwear for the foster child.
Qualifying Income List
Qualifying Payments for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Scheme
Payments from Social Welfare
- Adoptive Benefit, Blind Person’s Pension,Carer’s Benefit/Allowance ,
- Deserted Wife’s Benefit/Allowance , Disablement Benefit,
- Disability Allowance, Farm Assist,Guardian’s Payment ,
- Health and Safety Benefit ,Illness Benefit,Injury Benefit ,
- Invalidity Pension, Jobseeker’s Benefit/Allowance ,
- Maternity Benefit,One-Parent Family Payment,
- Partial Capacity Benefit
- Pandemic Unemployment Payment
- State Pension , Supplementary Welfare Allowance
- Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Pension
- Working Family Payment
- A Social Security Payment from a country covered by EU Regulations or a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement (of which there is an Irish equivalent payment).
- Payments to participants of Back to Work Family Dividend, Youth Employment Support Scheme, Community Employment, Community Services Programme, Tús, Gateway, Short Term Enterprise Allowance, Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, Jobs Initiative, Youthreach, Rural Social Schemes and Springboard Initiative.
- Payments to participants on a recognised education and training course such as Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) or Back To Education Allowance;
- Daily Expenses Allowance
- Participants on non-craft, full time, SOLAS or FÁS training schemes, CERT, and LES training schemes