As schools prepare to plan a return to education this September, Cork East TD Seán Sherlock has confirmed that those in receipt of the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be eligible for the back to school clothing and footwear allowance (BSCFA).
“The return to school, regardless of Covid-19, is typically an expensive time for parents and working families,” said Deputy Sherlock.
“This year, parents will feel the pinch more than ever. I am glad that the new Minister for Social Protection has confirmed to me that the scheme has been extended to include the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment as a qualifying payment for the allowance.
“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 scheme operates from June to September each year. I would urge people to apply for the scheme as soon as possible so that payments can be made,” he said.
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.
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) in the period 1 June to 30 September;
- 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.
Exceptional needs payments
Responding to Deputy Sherlock, Minister Heather Humphreys TD said: “Applications which are outside the terms of the BSCFA scheme will not qualify for payment under the BSCFA scheme. However, individuals who are refused a BSCFA payment may be considered for exceptional needs payments (ENP) under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme by the officers administering this scheme in the normal way.”
“Any persons who consider that they have an entitlement to an exceptional needs payment should contact the Department’s Community Welfare Service.”