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Calls for Back to School Allowance applications to be made available for those not online

Brian Stanley on Covid-19
Brian Stanley

A Laois TD has called for assistance for those who are struggling to apply for the Back to School Allowance.

Sinn Fein’s Brian Stanley says that many people who do not have access to the internet would normally have applied for this allowance during school hours.

However, with schools closed since March, the TD says many people could now miss out.

Mr Stanley said: “Throughout the school closure since March many children could not work with their teachers because of lack of IT equipment in their homes and in some cases no internet connection.

“Now because of this lack of equipment, the children who don’t automatically receive their Back To School allowance cannot apply online.

“These applications are only to be done online. Many households where English is not the first language will also be disadvantaged.

“A facility needs to be made available whereby parents could get assistance through the local social welfare office to complete their application online. Or the option of ‘hardcopy’ (paper) forms must be made available for families whose homes don’t have a computer connection.

“In the past forms were available from Social Welfare Offices. Since these children are out of school since March, they have already lost out on education and now they are going to lose out again in getting this benefit which many families depend on to assist with the cost of uniforms, footwear and books.

“The Department need to provide families with a hard copy form option without IT.

“I have asked the Minister for Social Protection to facilitate this.”

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.