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Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance Scheme

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 8 September 2020

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Questions (776)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

776. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Social Protection the cost of increasing the back to school clothing and footwear allowance by €25 respectively for both rates; the number currently in receipt of the payment; the additional cost of providing the current rates to all school going children; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22581/20]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The back to school clothing and footwear allowance 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 scheme operates from June to September each year. The allowance paid for each eligible child aged from 4 to 11 years on or before 30 September 2020 is €150 while an allowance of €275 is paid for each eligible child aged over 12 on or before 30 September 2020.

The allowance is payable for eligible children between the ages of 4 and 17 in respect of whom a qualified child increase is being paid. It is also payable to those 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.

In 2019, 143,150 families in respect of 263,400 children benefited from the scheme at a cost of €53.5 million. The estimated cost of increasing both rates by €25 is €6.6 million.

This year, the eligibility criteria for back to school clothing and footwear allowance has been extended to include the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment as a qualifying payment for the allowance. Recipients of this payment will also need to satisfy all the other qualifying conditions in order to qualify.

To date in 2020, 127,000 families benefited from the scheme in respect of 234,700 children, at a cost of €47.9 million.

Per Department of Education and Skills 'Statistical Bulletin : Enrollments September 2019 - Preliminary Results' there are 560,000 Primary school going children and 372,000 Post Primary school going children. The estimated additional cost to providing the current rate of back to school clothing and footwear allowance to all school going children is €132.8 million.

Customers can apply for back to school clothing and footwear allowance online on www.mywelfare.ie. To apply online, customers must have a Public Services Card and a verified MyGovID account.

If customers do not have a verified MyGovID account, they should contact the back to school clothing and footwear allowance section on 071 9193318 or 0818 11 11 13, where an officer can verify their account. Customers who do not have a Public Services Card or who cannot apply online can submit an application form. Application forms are only available by contacting the back to school clothing and footwear allowance section.

The closing date for receipt of applications for this years back to school clothing and footwear allowance is 30 September 2020.

I trust this clarifies the matter.

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