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Back to Education Allowance

What is the Back to Education Allowance?

Back to Education Allowance is for the unemployed, single parents, or disabled individuals on certain department payments, offering financial support for second- or third-level education in Ireland/Northern Ireland. It covers courses starting in these regions, with exceptions for mandatory years abroad in a course.

How to qualify for Back to Education Allowance:

To qualify, you must be at least 21 (24 for postgraduate). Second-level course applicants need 3+ months of a qualifying payment; third-level course applicants need 9+ months. Qualifying payments include:

A break of up to 12 months from payment is permissible, but you must be on the payment immediately prior to the course. Youthreach, prison time, Supplementary Welfare Allowance, direct provision, and statutory redundancy periods can count towards the qualifying period, given entitlement to a qualifying social welfare payment immediately before you start your course of study.

Rates of Payment:

Dependent child holders get an annual €500 Cost of Education Allowance.
Any extra benefits (e.g. Fuel Allowance (NFS1) or Rent Supplement (SWA RS1)) can be kept. Payment rate matches the previous benefit received.

How to Apply:

  1. If you are getting one of the following:
    • Jobseeker's payment
    • Farm Assist
    • One-Parent Family Payment (OFP1)
    Send your application form to your local Intreo Centre.

  2. If you are getting Illness Benefit

  3. Contact: Illness Benefit Section
    Address: Illness Benefit Section,
    Social Welfare Services,
    PO Box 1650,
    Dublin 1

    Website: www.gov.ie/illnessbenefit
    Email: illnessbenefit@welfare.ie
    Phone number: 01 7043300 or 0818 928400

  4. If you are getting one of the following:
    • Blind Pension
    • Deserted Wife's payment
    • Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Partner's (Non-Contributory) Pension
    • Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Partner's (Contributory) Pension

    Contact: Social Welfare Services (Sligo)
    Address: Department of Social Protection,
    College Road,
    Co Sligo

    Phone number: 071 9157100 or 0818 200400

  5. If you are getting one of the following:
    • Disability Allowance
    • Invalidity Pension
    • Incapacity Supplement
    • Carer's Allowance

    Contact: Social Welfare Services Office (Longford)
    Address: Department of Social Protection,
    Government Buildings,
    Ballinalee Road,
    Co Longford,
    N39 E4E0

    Phone number: (043) 334 000

Back to Education Programme (BTE1)