Know Your Rights: help with school costs

I am the parent of a four-year-old daughter who will start primary school in September. My only income is from my One-Parent Family Payment and €90 I get each week from a part-time job. I do not get maintenance and I am worried about the extra costs involved in sending my daughter to school. Is there State help available?

As you are getting a social welfare payment, you may be entitled to the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BSCFA ) to help meet the cost of your daughter’s school uniform and footwear, as long as your weekly income is below a certain level.

You are currently receiving a One-Parent Family Payment of €222.80 (including a child payment ) and earning €90, so your weekly income is €312.80, which is below the income limit of €418.10 for a lone parent with one child and will entitle you to BSCFA.

The BSCFA payment this year is €125 for a qualified child aged four to 11 years. The Department of Social Protection pays BSCFA automatically in many cases. If you have not already received a letter from them, you will need to apply by September 30.

Application forms are available on the Department’s website (welfare.ie ) or from your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office. A form can also be requested by texting ‘Form BTSCFA’ followed by your name and address to 51909 or by emailing the Department at [email protected].

The Department of Education and Skills also runs a School Books Grant Scheme which is available to State-funded schools to help with the cost of school books. Some schools will help with the cost of buying textbooks or run a textbook rental scheme. You should contact your daughter’s school principal to find out if this option is available at her new school.

You can get detailed information on the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance on citizensinformation.ie Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service on (0761 ) 076610. Alternatively, call into Athlone CIC, St Mary’s Square, Athlone.

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