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Big Kids

14th Jun 2024

Applications for the back-to-school cash boost are open – here’s what parents need to know

Sophie Collins

Back to school

This week marked the opening of applications for the annual Back To School Clothing and Footwear Allowance, a vital support scheme for thousands of parents

It provides a yearly lump sum payment of €285 or €160 per child, aimed at helping families cover the cost of school uniforms and shoes.  

Many families receive this payment automatically. 

However, if you haven’t received it previously, if your circumstances have changed making you now eligible, or if you receive no notification from the Department of Social Protection, you’ll need to apply.

Key Details

The lump sum is typically given out in September.

Here’s everything you need to know about eligibility and the application process: 

To qualify for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BSCFA), you must meet the following criteria: 

  • Qualifying Child: You must have a child that qualifies.
  • Social Welfare Payment: You must be receiving a qualifying social welfare payment or participating in an approved employment, education, or training support scheme. You can find a list of qualifying payments and schemes on
  • Income Limits: Your household must be within the BSCFA income limits. 
  • Residency: Both you and each child for whom you claim the BSCFA must be residents of Ireland. 

If you are receiving a social welfare payment, you must also be getting an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) with your payment, with some exceptions. 

You can still claim BSCFA if:

  • Your payment doesn’t provide for a child payment (e.g., Maternity Benefit and Adoptive Benefit), or 
  • Your spouse or partner’s income exceeds the limit for your payment, but your total household income is within the BSCFA income limits. 

Your child must be: 

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

Income Limits 

Your total household income must be below the specified amounts. 

This includes: 

  • Weekly social welfare or Health Service Executive (HSE) payments, and 
  • Any other income, including wages. 

The income limit increases by €54 for each additional dependent child. 

How to Apply 

The Department of Social Protection (DSP) will notify you via your MyWelfare account or by post if you are to be paid automatically.

If you do not receive a notification by the end of June, you must apply online, even if you received the payment last year. 

To apply, you will need a verified MyGovID account. If you do not have one, you can call the BSCFA contact centre at (071) 91 93318 or 0818 11 11 13 for assistance in setting it up.

Applications for the BSCFA are expected to open from 10 June 2024 and will remain open until 30 September 2024. 

Don’t miss out on this essential support for your back-to-school expenses!