Back to school forms should be in hard copy
As the clock ticks down to September, many households in Laois and Offaly face losing out on back to school money because they lack the computer equipment or internet connection needed to apply, a public representative has warned.
Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley claimed that throughout the school closure since March, many children could not work with their teachers because of lack of IT equipment in their homes and in some cases no internet connection.
“Now, because of this lack of equipment, the children who don’t automatically receive their Back To School allowance cannot apply online. These applications are only to be done online. Many households where English is not the first language will also be disadvantaged.
“A facility needs to be made available whereby parents could get assistance through the local social welfare office to complete their application online. Or the option of ‘hardcopy’ (paper) forms must be made available for families whose homes don’t have a computer connection.
“In the past forms were available from Social Welfare Offices. Since these children are out of school since March, they have already lost out on education and now they are going to lose out again in getting this benefit which many families depend on to assist with the cost of uniforms, footwear and books," he said.
The TD called for families to be provided with a hard copy form option by the Department of Social Protection