Thursday, 13 June 2019

Questions (202, 203, 204)

David Cullinane

Question:

202. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of children aged four to 11 years of age who were and are eligible for the back to school clothing and footwear payment in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date 2019; the overall cost of the back to school clothing and footwear payment for children aged four to 11 years in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24629/19]

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David Cullinane

Question:

203. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of children over 12 years of age attending secondary school who were and are eligible for the back to school clothing and footwear payment for each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the overall cost of the back to school clothing and footwear payment for children aged over 12 years of age attending secondary school in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24630/19]

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David Cullinane

Question:

204. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of children attending a third level institution who were and are eligible for the back to school clothing and footwear payment for each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the overall cost of the back to school clothing and footwear payment for children attending a third level institution in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24631/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 202 to 204, inclusive, together.

The back to school clothing and footwear allowance (BSCFA) scheme provides a once-off payment to eligible families to assist with the costs of clothing and footwear when children start or return to school each autumn.  The Government has provided €56.3m  for the scheme in 2019 which operates from June to September.

The payment rates for the 2019 scheme are €150 for eligible children aged 4 to 11 years and €275 for children aged over 12 years and attending secondary school. The 2019 scheme opened on 1 June. 110,000 customers (200,000 children) were awarded the allowance automatically from a matching exercise on the Department's computer systems and did not have to make an application.  These customers will receive a letter during the month of June and will be paid €40.5m during the week commencing 8 July.

Customers wishing to apply for the allowance who do not receive an award letter by the end of June will need to submit an application.  Applications can be made online or applications can be downloaded from www.welfare.ie from 24 June.  Application forms will also be available from 24 June in all department Intreo Centres and Citizens Information centres, or by texting Form BTSCFA followed by name and address to 51909 or by e-mailing BSCFA@welfare.ie.

In general, the allowance is payable in respect of eligible children between the ages of 4 and 17 in respect of whom a qualified child allowance is being paid and eligible children between the ages of 18 and 22 who are in full-time second level education and in respect of whom a qualified child allowance is being paid.  The allowance is not paid in respect of children in third level education.

To qualify for BSCFA a person must meet a number of conditions namely:

- The child must meet the age criteria.

- The applicant must be in receipt of a qualifying payment and getting an increase in that payment for the qualified child (except in certain circumstances). 

- The assessable income for the household must be within prescribed limits.

- The applicant and the child (or children) in respect of whom the allowance is claimed must be resident in the State. 

The breakdown in numbers and expenditure requested by the Deputy are in the tabular statement. 

BSCFA Expenditure 

Year

No. of children aged 4-11

Rate per child 4-11

Expenditure

No. of children aged 12+

Rate per child 12+ 

Expenditure

Total children

Total Expenditure

2015

161,000

€100

€16.1m

120,000

€200

€25.3m

281,000

€41.4m

2016

167,000

€100

€16.7m

117,000

€200

€23.1m

284,000

€39.8m

2017

160,000

€125

€20.0m

115,000

€250

€28.9m

275,000

€48.9m

2018 *

154,000

€125

€19.3m

112,000

€250

€28.0m

266,000

€47.3m

2019 ^

116,000

€150

€17.4m

84,000

€275

€23.0m

200,000

€40.4m

 * Provisional Outturn

 ^ Figures for 2019 represent automatic awards only. Scheme is open until 30 September. Up to 50,000 additional applications may be processed before scheme closes.  Total estimated expenditure  for 2019 is €56.3m.