Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance

What is the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance?

The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BSCFA) is a payment to help families with the cost of school uniforms and shoes.

Many families get the BSCFA automatically. If you are paid automatically, you don't need to apply for the BSCFA.

If you don’t get an automatic payment, you can apply for the payment online at MyWelfare (see ‘how to apply’ below).

Applications for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance are expected to open on 5 June 2024 and close on 30 September 2024.

Can I get the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance?

You can get the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BSCFA) if you have a child that qualifies, and:

  • You are getting a qualifying social welfare payment, or are participating in an approved employment, education or training support scheme. See a list of qualifying payments and schemes on Gov.ie
  • Your household is within the BSCFA income limits (see ‘Income limits’ below)
  • You and each child you claim the BSCFA for are resident in Ireland.

If you are getting a social welfare payment, you must be getting an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) with your payment. There are some exceptions to this (see ‘I don’t get an IQC’ below).

I don’t get an IQC with my social welfare payment

If you are getting a qualifying social welfare payment but you don’t get an IQC, you can still claim BSCFA if:

  • The rules of your payment do not provide for a child payment (for example, Maternity Benefit and Adoptive Benefit), or
  • Your spouse or partner's income is over the specified limit for your payment, but your overall household income is within the BSCFA income limits (see ‘Income limits’ below).

You must meet the other rules for getting BSCFA.

Does my child qualify?

To get the BSCFA, your child must be:

  • Aged between 4-17 on 30 September in the year you apply
  • Aged between 18-22 and returning to full-time second-level education in a recognised school or college in the autumn of the year you apply

Your child must be resident in Ireland.

Foster children

Foster children do not qualify for the BSCFA. This is because foster parents get a Foster Care Allowance, which includes help with the cost of clothing and footwear for the child.

Income limits for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance

Your total household income must be less than the amounts set out in the table below.

The Department of Social Protection (DSP) counts all your dependent children when applying the income limit, including:

  • Your children who are aged under 4
  • Your children aged 18 to 22 who are in third level education.

Calculating your total household income

Your total household income includes:

  • Your weekly social welfare or Health Service Executive (HSE) payments, and
  • Any other income you may have, including wages.

However, some social welfare payments are not included in the means test (see list below).

When assessing your income from wages, the DSP looks at your income before tax. However, they don’t include PRSI and a standard travel allowance of up to €20 per week.

Payments not included in the means test for BSCFA

Your income from the following payments is not counted in the means test for BSCFA:

Read about the income assessed for BSCFA on Gov.ie.

Weekly income limits for BSCFA in 2024

Number of children Income limit
1 child €666
2 children €720
3 children €774
4 children €828*

*The income limit is increased by €54 for each additional dependent child.

How much is Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance?

See the table below for the current rates of Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BSCFA):

Rates of BSCFA 2024
Child’s age on 30 September 2024 Rate of payment
Age 4-11 €160
Age 12-22 €285*

*Children aged between 18-22 must be returning to full-time second-level education in a recognised school in the autumn of 2024.

How to apply for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance

I get the BSCFA automatically

You don't need to apply for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BSCFA) if you get the payment automatically.

The Department of Social Protection (DSP) will let you know if you are paid automatically using your MyWelfare account, or by post.

If you don’t hear from the DSP by the end of June, you must apply for BSCFA online, even if you got the BSCFA payment last year. See ‘I don’t get the BSCFA automatically’ below.

I don’t get the BSCFA automatically

If you don’t get the payment automatically, you can apply for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance online at MyWelfare.ie.

You will need a verified MyGovID account. If you don’t have a verified MyGovID account, you can call the BSCFA contact centre on (071) 91 93318 or 0818 11 11 13, and they will help you to set one up.

Applications for BSCFA are expected to open from 5 June 2024 until 30 September 2024.

You should apply for the BSCFA before the closing date if:

  • You have applied for a social welfare payment and are waiting for a decision on your application, or
  • You have appealed a decision not to award you a social welfare payment

Your BSCFA application will be decided when you get a decision on your social welfare payment application, or on your appeal.

Appealing a BSCFA decision

If you are unhappy with the decision on your BSCFA application, you should send a letter to the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance Review Section (see contact details under ‘More information’ below).

In your letter, you should:

  • Explain the reasons why you think the decision was incorrect
  • Ask that your application be reviewed.

You should ask for a review within 21 days of getting your decision.

You can’t appeal a BSCFA decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.

More information

You can read detailed information about the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BSCFA) on Gov.ie.

To ask for a review of your BSCFA application, contact:

Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance Section

Department of Social Protection

Social Welfare Services
Department of Social Protection
College Road
Sligo
F91 T384

Tel: (071) 919 3318 or 0818 111 113
Page edited: 21 May 2024