Offaly Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen is urging families eligible for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance to lodge their application as the deadline is next week.
Deputy Cowen commented, “The closing date for applications for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is next Monday September 30. The allowance, which is means tested, helps families across the county with the cost of school uniforms and footwear for children and young people aged between 4 and 22.
“Unfortunately the government has further restricted the criteria this year so it’s important people make sure their applications are in order. Families who received the allowance in 2012 and whose circumstances haven’t changed will be automatically entitled to the allowance this year. However new applications have to be submitted by next Monday and I would urge families across Offaly to ensure that their applications are in as early as possible.
“In the budget last year the Government slashed the Back to School Footwear and Clothing Allowance by €50, from €150 to €100 (children aged 4 to 11), and €250 to €200 (children aged 12 to 17 or aged 18 to 22 in full time education). This payment is a lifeline for thousands of families across the country. The start of the new school year has a huge impact on family budgets and the latest inflation figures show a 5% increase in education costs over the past year.
“As hundreds of more struggling families fall beneath the poverty line due to the Government’s unfair policies, it is vital that parents in Offaly entitled to the Back to School allowance apply before next week.”