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Summer holidays are finishing up and our kids are heading back to school. Back to school is an expensive time of year. With this in mind I thought I’d give you a little reminder of schemes and grants that may be available to you.

   Let’s start with the little ones!

Early Learning Scheme

The Early Learning Scheme provides a free year of pre-school education. In general, children receive 3 hours per day, 5 days a week over a 38-week period. Children are eligible for the scheme if they are aged between 3 years 3 months and 4 years 6 months on the 1st September of the year that they will be starting. If your child has special needs then you may be able to start your child later and spread the term over 2-years if that suit you better. If your child has a visual and/or hearing impairment, then from the age of 2 years they may get access to the Visiting Teacher Service.

Free Nappy Scheme

You may need to have them at hand in pre-school/school. This scheme provides nappies free of charge to children who have special needs and are of age 3 years and upwards. The supply of nappies is limited each month and this scheme is administrated by the HSE.

Back to School Allowance

This allowance helps parents meet the cost of uniforms and footwear for their children in both primary and secondary school.  The scheme operates from June to September each year and is means tested. Your total household income must be below a certain amount based on the number of children you have. Payments are €100 for children between the age of 4 and 11 years and €200 for children between 12 and 22 years. All children over 18 and in secondary school must send off an application form even if the payment came in automatically in 2013.

Let’s finish with the older children!

Student Grants

Student grants provides means tested financial support to eligible students  and is based on your family’s gross income for the previous full tax year (2013). There is a maintenance grant and a fee grant. A maintenance grant is a contribution towards your living costs. A fee grant can cover all or part of your tuition fees or student contribution. You may also be able to claim tax relief on tuition fees that you have paid. Families who pay student contributions for more than one student in a year can also claim tax relief on the second and subsequent contributions.

Fund for Students with Disabilities

The scheme allocates funding to education colleges for the provision of services and supports to full-time students with disabilities. The scheme aims to ensure that students can participate fully in their academic programmes and are not disadvantaged by reason of a disability. 

Fund Your Special Child’s Trust From Entitlements Today – For A Brighter Tomorrow

This article was prepared by Allan Cuthbert, a Special Needs Trust Planner. If you have a Trust Planning question, feel free to email allan@financialwellbeing.ie or call 021 482 3635.