Never be embarrassed about applying for state support when it comes to educating your children. Your children deserve an education the same as the next child and sometimes through a variety of issues, parents find themselves unable to fund ongoing education costs.

There are some such financial supports available for those parents eligible to claim: The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BTSCFA) helps meet the cost of uniforms and footwear for children going to school.

In 2017, the Department of Social Protection will pay BTSCFA automatically to a large number of qualified people. This means that many families do not have to apply for the payment. If you received this payment last year and your circumstances have not changed, you should have received a letter stating when and how your allowance will be paid.

school girl
 Applications must be received before the end of September

If you haven’t received a notification letter and are eligible for the allowance, you should make an application. Application forms are available in all Social Welfare offices or online. You can also request a form by texting FORM  BTSCFA followed by your address to 51909 (normal SMS rates apply). 

If you do not receive an automatic payment, you must apply for the allowance.  Applications must be received before the end of September. You may qualify for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BTSCFA) if you are:

  • Getting a social welfare payment ( including Family Income Supplement and Back to Work Family Dividend ) 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 scheme, or
  • Involved in an Area Partnership Scheme, or
  • Attending a FET (formerly FÁS), Fáilte Ireland or LES training scheme.

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

Subject to means testing:

  • The allowance paid for each eligible child aged 4 to 11 on or before 30 September 2017 is €100. 
  • The allowance paid for each eligible child aged 12 to 22 on or before 30 September 2017 is €200.

The scheme is open from 1st June 2017. Application forms are available online and in all social welfare offices. You can also request a form online, via SMS (text Form BTSCFA followed by the name and address to 51909) or by emailing the Department at

Completed application forms with supporting documentation should be returned to Department of Social Protection, Social Welfare Services - Department of Social Protection, College Road, Sligo  F91 T384 Locall:1890 66 22 44

For more information click on John Lowe's profile above or on his website.