What is the Back To Education Allowance and how do you qualify?
The BTEA is a supplement for people who are unemployed, single parenting or with a disability already on other payments who want to go back to education.
It is valid for courses that start in Ireland or Northern Ireland, but it can be paid for a year abroad for example the Erasmus + programme if a year abroad is a core requirement for the course.
What is the payment for the BTEA?
The amount you receive on the Back to Education Allowance is the same as the payment that you were previously on – so for example if you were on jobseekers allowance and were going back to education your would receive €220 per week while you were studying.
If you have a dependent child and are receiving the Back to Education Allowance, you can also receive a €500 Cost of Education Allowance per year.
What are the criteria for qualifying for the BTEA?
To qualify for the allowance applicants must be 21, and at least 21 if applying for a postgraduate course. To receive the payment during a second-level course, applicants must have been receiving a qualifying payment for at least three months prior to application, and anyone receiving the One Parent Family Payment must be at least 18 years of age.
In order to apply for a third-level course, you must have been on a qualifying payment for nine months or more.
Qualifying payments include Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment, Farm Assist, One-Parent Family Payment, Deserted Wife’s Benefit or Allowance, Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Also people on Prisoner’s Wife’s Allowance, Carer’s Allowance, Blind Pension, Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension, Incapacity Supplement and Illness benefit.
Applicants don’t have to have been getting the qualifying payment continuously, but must be on the payment immediately before the course.
People on Illness Benefit must be in receipt of this payment for two years or more.
How do you apply for the BTEA?
How to apply depends on the relevant payment you are on. Those on Jobseeker’s payments, Farm Assist and One-Parent Family Payment can apply via application form to their local Intreo centre or social welfare branch.
People on Illness Benefit must apply via the Illness Benefit social welfare office, while anyone on Blind Pension, Deserted Wife’s payment, Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Partner’s Pensions must apply via the Social Welfare Services Office in Sligo.
People on Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension, Incapacity Supplement and Carer’s Allowance can apply through the Social Welfare Services Office in Longford.
For more information on the BTEA click on the link below