Allowances may help to defray high cost of uniform and books
Nicky Rossiter of Wexford MABS has urged parents to start planning ahead for the return to school.
'It's a good idea to try and spread the cost of going back to school over the summer.
'Check if you qualify for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance which helps towards the cost of uniforms and footwear. The Scheme runs each year from June 1 until September 30. For 2015, anyone who received the payment previously and who is still eligible will not need to apply again - you will receive a letter from the Department of Social Protection in mid-June telling you when and how your payments will be made.
'If you have not received a letter by the end of June and you believe you are eligible, or if this is your first time to apply, application forms are available from your local welfare office or by download from www.welfare.ie. or by texting Form BTSCFA followed by your name and address to 51909.'
You can also call into your local Citizens' Information Centre, or LoCall 1890 66 22 44 for more information.
You may qualify for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance if you are in receipt of a qualifying payment which includes an increase in respect of your child / children, and subject to a means test. In general, you may qualify if you are in one of these groups: You are getting a social welfare payment or a Health Service Executive payment; You are taking part in an approved employment scheme; You are taking part in a recognised education or training course; You are involved in an Area Partnership Scheme; You are attending a FET (formerly FÁS), Failte Ireland or LES training scheme
To qualify for this allowance, your household income must be below a certain limit, depending on your family composition.
According to Nicky the rate of the allowance paid for each eligible child aged 4-11 on or before September 30 is €100. The rate of the allowance paid for each eligible child aged 12-22 on or before September 30 is €200. If they are aged between 18-22 they must be in full-time second-level education.
Nicky also said that the children of parents who hold a current medical card are exempt from Junior Cert and Leaving Cert examination fees. Parents simply have to enter the medical card details on the fee payment form and return to the school before the required date.
MABS is a free, professional, independent service for those requesting assistance with budgeting, devising offers and dealing with creditors. In Wexford you can contact them on 0761 072780 or text 086-4535484 (for a call back) or e-mail Wexford@mabs.ie.
Arklow MABS (0761072390) has a clinic at The Family Resource Centre, Gorey by appointment only. The national helpline is 0761 07 2000.