Back to School Allowance

The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is designed to help low-income families with the added costs of their children returning to school each autumn. New uniforms, shoes, sports equipment and books make this time of year particularly expensive for parents.

The scheme operates from 1st June until the 30th September every year.

Who qualifies for the allowance?

A parent or guardian must meet a number of conditions in order to be eligible for the Allowance:

  • You must be receiving certain social welfare payments or payments for training, employment schemes or adult education
  • Your total household income must be below a certain amount
  • The child/student must be between 2 and 22 years before 1st October of the year you apply and must be in full-time education at a recognised school or college
  • Where a person is on short-term social welfare payment, qualifying children must be aged 2-17 years.

For 2006, the total household income limit was 441.40 for a couple with one child, increasing by 19.30 for each additional child, and 314.90 for a lone parent with one child, increasing by 21.60 for each additional child. Total income includes your main social welfare or Health Service Executive Area payment and any wages you may earn (before tax, but excluding PRSI and reasonable travel expenses).


The rate of allowance paid is currently (as of 2006) 120 for each eligible child aged 2-11 and 190 for each eligible child aged 12-17 (up to age 22 years if they are in full-time education and a child dependant allowance is payable).

To apply for the allowance, contact the Community Welfare Officer at your local health centre.

Reviewed: September 26, 2006