I hope you had a lovely summer and enjoyed the exceptional weather we had in July. 2013 summer holidays are finishing up and our kids are head 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 are eligible for the scheme if they are aged between 3 years 2 months and 4 years 7 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 spread the term over 2-years if that suit you better.

Free Diapers 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.  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.

Diet Supplement Scheme

If you need to fill your child’s lunch box with specific foods due to a hospital consultant prescribed a special diet. Then it may be possible to claim an allowance from your health board under the means tested Diet Supplement Scheme. Alternatively, if your income is too high, you may be able to claim tax relief on your Med 1 form from the Revenue.

Let’s finish with the older children!

Student Grants

Student grants provide financial support to eligible students. 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 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. To see why all parents must set up a Special Needs Trust, check out www.financialwellbeing.ie