A significant expansion of the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance will ensure that many more families in Laois can benefit from it ahead of this school year, a Fine Gael Councillor has said.
Leas-Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Councillor Conor Bergin said: “Minister for Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands, Heather Humphreys, has confirmed to me that the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance will be made available again this year and that the amount available has increased threefold.
“This significant increase in the fund is to aid families whose income has been affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic and who will find the back to school period expensive.”
The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is a once-off, means tested payment to assist eligible families with the extra costs when children start school each autumn.
The Allowance paid for each eligible child aged 4 – 11 years on or before 30 September 2020 is €150 while an allowance of €275 is paid for each eligible child aged 12 – 22 years on or before 30 September 2020.
Students aged between 18 and 22 years must be returning to full-time second-level education in a recognised school or college in the autumn of 2020.
Councillor Bergin continued: “This year €152.9 million has been made available for the Scheme which compares with estimated expenditure on the scheme last year of €53.7 million.
“Any parent or guardian wishing to apply should go immediately to www.mywelfare.ie and check the criteria.
“While a large number of payments are being paid automatically with no application form required, if a family received a payment last year and have not already received a notification from the Department of an automated payment, they are advised to make an application now online.
“The closing date for receipt of applications for this year’s Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is 30th September 2020.
“Anyone looking for further information in relation to the application process can email the Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the dedicated phone lines: 071 9193318 and 0818 11 11 13.”
Minister Humphreys added: “This can be an extremely stressful time for families, particularly given what people have been through as a result of the pandemic.
“I looked at this in the round and I believe the fairest thing to do is to link the Pandemic Unemployment Payment to the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance.
“I encourage everyone who thinks they may qualify to check the Department’s website.”