Back to Education Allowance
Please note the information here is purely for demonstration purposes – please check with your local Social Welfare Office or Citizens Information Centre:
If you are unemployed, getting a One-Parent Family Payment or have a disability, you may attend a second-or third-level education course and get the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA). The weekly Allowance is paid at a standard rate and is not means-tested. However, the increase you get for a qualified adult may be means-tested if your spouse/partner has earnings.
Keeping your secondary benefits
If you qualify for the Back to Education Allowance, you will keep an entitlement to any secondary benefits you already have, for example, Christmas Bonus, Fuel Allowance, Rent Supplement and Mortgage Interest Supplement. However, any increase in income may affect your entitlement to Rent/Mortgage Interest Supplement or the amount of supplement you get. For example, this can happen if you move from a reduced social welfare payment to the standard BTEA rate.
Student maintenance grants
From September 2010, you will not get the Back to Education Allowance and student maintenance grant, if you:
- Have been getting BTEA and are moving or progressing to a new course
- Are a new BTEA applicant
Although you are not entitled to a maintenance grant, you must still submit a maintenance grant application form to get payment of the student service charge and tuition fees. Contact your local authority or VEC for more information.
If you are getting one of the social welfare payments listed below, you can choose to stay on your current social welfare payment and apply for a maintenance grant or transfer to the BTEA. You can find out whether BTEA is the best option for you.
- One-Parent Family Payment
- Disability Allowance
- Invalidity Pension
- Illness Benefit
Spouse, civil partner or cohabitant can qualify for BTEA
You may qualify for BTEA if you are not getting a social welfare payment but your spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is getting an Increase for a Qualified Adult in their social welfare payment for you. To qualify your spouse/civil partner/cohabitant must have an entitlement to BTEA and be getting an Increase for a Qualified Adult in his/her social welfare payment for you as an adult dependant for the required amount of time – see ‘Rules’ below.
If you qualify for BTEA because you are an adult dependant, you will get the same social welfare payment as your spouse/civil partner/cohabitant but at the maximum standard personal rate. Your spouse/civil partner/cohabitant will keep his/her entitlement to his/her personal rate of payment. You will also qualify for the annual Cost of Education Allowance.
If you get the Back to Education Allowance your spouse/civil partner/cohabitant can still keep his/her entitlement to the BTEA.