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 this week.
Customers wishing to apply for the allowance who did 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 since 24 June. Application forms are also be available since 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.
The number of children aged 12 or over who received the allowance in 2018 was 112,000 at a cost of €28m. The number in this age group who have received the allowance in 2019 so far is 89,000 at a cost of €24.5m.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.