BTEA – Back to Education Allowance

The Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) is a scheme for unemployed people, lone parents and people with disabilities who are getting certain payments from the Department of Social Protection.

The allowance can be paid to people who wish to undertake approved second or third level courses of education. BTEA is not an unemployment payment. This weekly allowance is not means tested and you can work part-time without affecting your BTEA payment.

Any full time day course provided by Cork College of Commerce is eligible for BTEA as long as the applicant is progressing their level of education qualification i.e. if an applicant has a Level 5 qualification on the National framework of Qualifications (NFQ) they must undertake a course that leads to a Level 6 qualification at least

An applicant will qualify for BTEA if they are at least 21 years of age and in receipt of one of the following benefits for at least 3 months (78 days).

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance or Benefit
  • Farm Assist
  • One-Parent Family Payment
  • Deserted Wife’s Allowance or Benefit
  • Widow’s or Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory or Non-Contributory Pension
  • Prisoners Wife’s Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Blind Pension
  • Disability Allowance
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Incapacity Supplement (based on a life Disablement Pension).
  • Or claimed Illness Benefit for two years or more.

However if you are getting Jobseeker’s Allowance or Benefit or One-Parent Family Payment for at least 3 months (78 days) are aged between 18 and 20 and been out of formal education for at least 2 years you may also qualify.

Also if you are 18 or over and getting Blind Pension, Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension or Incapacity Supplement for at least 3 months (78 days) you may similarly qualify.

For current information on the schemes qualifying conditions, please contact your local Social Welfare Office or:

Back to Education Schemes
Department of Social Protection, Social Welfare Services,
Government Buildings, Shannon Lodge, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim.
Tel: (071) 96 72698

How do I apply for the Back to Education Allowance?

If you think you are eligible for the BTEA and you have been accepted on an approved course in the College, you should complete the Social Welfare form BTE 1.

The BTE 1 form is available from your local social welfare office. You can access the form directly and print it off by clicking on

Applications for BTEA must be made prior to commencement of an approved course but late applications will be accepted if received within 30 days of the commencement date of the course, provided there are reasonable grounds for doing so.

Further Information is available at