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Cork East Fine Gael TD, David Stanton has urged parents to apply for the Back to School Clothing & Footwear Allowance. The BTSCFA scheme is operated by the Department of Social Protection every year and is open to any parents on a low income with school children or students. The closing date is September 30th.

“Due to the economic downturn many parents have experienced changes in household income over the past couple of years. Back to school time is an expensive time and many parents may not be aware that this payment is available to them. Most families who are dependent on social welfare payments or in receipt of Family Income Supplement should be eligible for this Back to School Allowance.

“This year there is €82 million available under this scheme. Last year there were huge delays in processing applications due to large numbers applying. It is expected that 160,000 families will be awarded payment under the scheme this year which will benefit 310,000 children and young adults at school and in further education.

“This payment can prove a great help to parents meeting high back to school costs. The rate of the allowance paid for each eligible child aged 2-11 is €200 and aged 12-17 is €305 and children aged 18 to 22 on the 30th September 2010 who are in full time education. If you are receiving compensatory Child Benefit for a child aged 18 years, an additional amount of EUR215 is payable.

“The weekly income limit for the allowance for a couple with one child is €563.60 and €410.10 for those parenting alone. Income limits increase by €29.80 for each additional child. I would urge any parent with household income under or near these amounts to apply. Application forms are available from your local community welfare officer, by texting FORM BTSCFA to 51909 followed by your name and address or can be downloaded at:

“Alternatively parents can contact my office at 29 St Mary’s Road, Midleton by telephone 021 4632867 or email mailto: and I will be happy to give them an application form.