Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2750)

John Brady

Question:

2750. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons automatically entitled to the back to school clothing and footwear allowance in 2019; the number of applications received to date; the average waiting time for a decision to be made on an application; the average waiting times for the processing of payments in both cases; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33160/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

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. Provision was made to increase the 2018 rates by €25.

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 in June.

115,000 customers were awarded the allowance automatically in respect of 209,400 children from a matching exercise on the Department’s computer systems and did not have to make an application. They received their payment during week beginning 8th July. Payments totalling €42.3m were made in respect of these customers.

My Department has received approximately 16,800 manual and online applications for the 2019 Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance since the 24 June 2019. The average waiting time for a decision is currently 10-15 working days and the average waiting time for the processing of payments is 3 working days.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.