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Families still waiting for Back to School payments

Families yet to receive Back to School payments

Trevor Quinn

More than half of hard pressed families in the western region who have applied for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance have not received their payments from the scheme which was opened on July 1 last.
More than 45,000 applications for the allowance have yet to be processed because of staffing shortages which could mean families may have to wait many weeks and perhaps months to receive their payments.
An extra 14 staff will be required to deal with the unprecedented demand for the allowance this year. More than 66,000 claims have been received so far while just 20,600 of these have been processed. Only 16,000 have as of yet been paid.
The initiative entitles families to claim expenses for school uniforms and supplies. It enables families with children in primary school to claim up to €200, and this amount increases to €305 euros for second-level students.
A recent survey by Bank of Ireland in conjunction with Schooldays.ie revealed that more than three out of every four parents are of the opinion that school uniforms are overly expensive.
The cost of the BSCFA has been rising steadily over the last three years. In 2009 the scheme cost just under €70 million, while in 2010 this figure rose to just over €77 million. In 2011 a total of €82 million was allocated for the BSCFA.