The start of school year can be a worrying and financially stressful time for many parents especially when we have gone over 18 months of a pandemic where most of us have been locked up.
John Lowe of MoneyDoctors.ie looks at what supports are available to families in need. Every year the costs of sending your loved ones to school seem to increase.
For those with little money, help is on hand through a means-tested once-off government payment aimed at helping families with the costs associated with children returning to school in the autumn.
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 returning to second-level education.
The allowance paid for each eligible child
- aged 4-11 on or before 30 September 2021 is €150.00.
- aged 12-22 on or before 30 September 2021 is €275.00.
Children aged between 18 and 22 years must be returning to full-time second-level education in a recognised school or college in the autumn of 2019.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection expects some 150,000 payments for Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance to be made before schools reopen.
Most payments will happen automatically and would have been paid the week commencing 8th July.
Notification would have been issued to these families during the month of June. For those who have not received notification of an automated payment, you will still need to submit an application, even if you received the payment last year.
From 24th June 2021, you could have applied for Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance online on www.mywelfare.ie.
To apply online you must have a Public Services Card and a verified MyGovID account. If you do not have a Public Services Card, you can make an appointment to get one at www.mywelfare.ie.
Alternatively, you can submit an application form and send it in Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection offices by texting "form BTSCFA" followed by your name and address to 51909, or by downloading the form from this web page.
Completed application forms - by closing date 30th September 2021 - should be returned to:
Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance section,
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection,
Social Welfare Services Office,
Sligo, F91 T384
Opening Hours: Phone line: 9.00am - 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.
Tel:(071) 919 3318 (If calling from outside the Republic of Ireland please call +353 71 919 3318)
Locall:1890 66 22 44 (Note: the rates charged for using 1890 (Lo-call) numbers may vary. Calls made from mobile phones may be charged at significantly higher rates) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
St Vincent's de Paul, Barnardos and the Simon Community are charities just to name three who will also help out cash strapped families at this time of year. Never be embarrassed and enjoy the new school year.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent or reflect the views of RTÉ.