Killeen Urges Clare Parents To Apply Early For Back To School Allowance

From: Dunphy PR
Published: Thu Jul 30 2009

The Allowance, which helps towards the cost of uniforms and footwear for school children, operates from 1st June to 30th September each year. Thousands of Clare parents are expected to seek assistance with the back to school costs through payments of EUR200 or EUR305 depending on the age of their children.

Minister of State Killeen urged eligible families to apply immediately, in order to ensure that they receive payment before or during September. He said: "The start of the new school year is always a pressurised time financially, so I would urge parents to take the time to apply for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance, as it can take 6 to 8 weeks to process applications and receive payment."

A person may qualify for payment of an allowance if they are in receipt of a Social Welfare payment (including Family Income Supplement), or Health Service Executive payment, are participating in an approved employment scheme or attending a recognised education and training course and have household income at or below certain set levels.

Minister of State Killeen noted that changes announced in the recent Budget mean that an estimated 18,000 more families would benefit as the income thresholds for entitlement to the scheme were increased by EUR50. "This increase brings the income limits for the allowance for parents with one child to EUR560 for couples and EUR407 for those parenting alone. Another special measure, which was introduced in the Budget, was an additional allowance of EUR215 payable to 18 year olds in full time education for whom, the half rate Child Benefit is now applied. Total back to school payment in respects of children aged 18 is EUR520", he commented.

The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance scheme is administered on behalf of the Department by the Community Welfare Division of the Health Service Executive.

The number of children benefiting from the scheme has increased over the past number of years, rising from 161,000 in 2006 to over 200,000 last year. Given increased income thresholds and the increase in the numbers on the Live Register, the numbers likely to benefit this year are expected to be over 250,000 children. Expenditure on the scheme this year is expected to be EUR68million.
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