Help with Back to School Costs
19th August 2009
As the school holidays come to an end many parents are buying school uniforms for their children and feeling the burden of the financial costs associated with children returning to school.
There have been two welcome changes on the issue of school costs which have been introduced in Northern Ireland which may help to ease the pressure of school costs for some parents.
For some years now a school uniform grant has been available for pupils at secondary schools but for the first time from this year parents with children at primary school will be able to apply for a £35 grant to help with the costs of primary school uniforms.
A parent who is in receipt of one of the following benefits is entitled to help towards the cost of a school uniform:
- Income Support
- Income-based JSA
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Guarantee Pension Credit
- National Asylum Support Scheme
- Child Tax Credit with a gross income of less than £16,040
Post primary grants are £76.50 for pupils aged over 15 and £71.50 for pupils aged under 15.
Parents who are receiving Working Tax Credit (WTC) are not normally entitled to free school meals. However if they have reduced their working hours below 16 hours per week or have stopped working their WTC will run on for a further 4 weeks. Since 10th August 2009 their children can now qualify for free school meals during this period.
Parents who receive any of the other benefits listed above are entitled to free school meals.
Parents who wish to find out more about the help available with the costs of education can contact their nearest CAB or their local Education and Library Board.
Notes To Editors
- Citizens Advice is the largest advice charity in Northern Ireland working against poverty, meeting the information and advice needs of some 92,000 people per year and dealing with over 324,000 issues. Sixty per cent of queries relate to social security. Citizens Advice Northern Ireland has formal links to National Citizens Advice in England and Wales and close working relationships with Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS). Together the three associations constitute the largest advice network in Europe, with over 60 year’s experience of providing advice and information to the public.
- The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
- Citizens Advice is currently managing a £1.2m contract from DETI for the provision of debt advice in Northern Ireland, and a contract from the Social Security Agency for benefit take up which is targeted on 25,000 people.