I am very pleased that the Back to School Clothing and Footware Allowance will soon be available for eligible families.
Budget 2019 provided for €56 million nationally to be made available for the allowance which will be paid automatically to almost 110,000 families on behalf of around 200,000 children.
This is a very important support for families who come under a lot of pressure with the extra costs of starting or returning to school in the autumn.
I would urge everyone to check their eligibility for the allowance.
All those receiving the allowance should receive notification of their entitlement by the end of June. Anyone who believes they are entitled to receive the allowance but has not had notification should apply.
The income limits for the allowance have been adjusted so that increases in social welfare benefit in Budget 2019 would not affect eligibility. Any family wishing to apply needs to do so before the end of September.
The allowance is a once-off payment for eligible families of €150 for each child aged 4-11 up to September 30 and €275 for each child aged 12-22 up to September 30 with the proviso that children aged 18-22 must be returning to full-time education in a recognised school or college.
The benefit will be paid in the week beginning July 8 to give families enough time to make preparations for the return to school or college in the autumn.
The application form will be available from 24 June in all Intreo Centres, via SMS (text Form BTSCFA followed by the name and address to 51909) or by sending an email to BSCFA@welfare.ie and on the Department’s website www.welfare.ie .
There is also an option to apply online this year at www.mywelfare.ie. Customers wishing to avail of this option need to have a Public Services Card and a verified MyGovID account. Those who do not have a Public Services Card can make an appointment at www.mywelfare.ie to get one.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is also providing a dedicated phone bank that will be open to answer enquiries from Monday June 24 during business hours 9.00am to 5.00pm. Anyone wishing to make enquiries about this scheme can contact LoCall 1890 66 22 44.
To qualify for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance, a person must be in receipt of certain social welfare payments or taking part in training, employment or adult education schemes and the total household income must be less than the amounts set out in the table below. All dependent children are taken into account for the income limits (including children who do not qualify for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance, because they are under the age of 4).
The total household income includes a person’s main social welfare or Health Service Executive payment and any other income they may have including wages (before tax, but excluding employee PRSI and a standard travel allowance of up to €20 per week), maintenance, savings and investments.
Savings and investments (including property, but not the family 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
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.

Income Limits for 2019 are:-
Couple with:
Income Limit Lone Parent:: Income Limit
1 child €600.70           1 child                €435.30
2 children €637.70     2 children         €472.30
3 children €674.70     3 children         €509.30
4 children €711.70*    4 children         €546.30*
*Limit is increased by €37 for each additional child.