Frequently Asked Questions

What is the application process for the SEC grant? 

There are 3 steps in the application process.

Step 1. Emailing the Registration Form

Step 2. Emailing the Application Form

Step 3. Posting your supporting documents

See here for a step by step overview of the application process

What do I need to complete the application process? 

You will need access to a computer i.e. a laptop or PC, an email address and an internet connection to access your email to download the Registration form and Application form. You will need access to a printer for Step 2: Application form (to print it when you have filled it in) and Step 3: posting the supporting documents.

What do I enter in the Registration form?

Sample Registration form

I can’t type into the boxes on the form. What is wrong?

Are you using a computer?

These forms will not work on a phone or tablet. You will have to use a computer i.e. laptop or PC

Are you using Microsoft Edge?

If you are using Microsoft Edge (aka Internet Explorer) to access your emails, try a different browser to open your email and download your form. Our grant application system is compatible with most browsers except Microsoft Edge. Please do not use Microsoft Edge to complete your application.

Have you opened a preview of the form?

You may have opened a preview of the form in your browser. Or the form has opened in a programme other than Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.

Have you downloaded the correct version of Adobe Acrobat Reader DC?

Download Adobe Acrobat Reader DC here

If you are using Gmail, go back to your email with the form attachment.

Hover your mouse over the attachment and click the down facing arrow that appears.

This will download the file and will save it in the computer’s Downloads folder:

Open Adobe Reader DC from your start button or desktop icon:

Select file and open in Adobe:

Select the download folder and open your form:

How do I send the activation email?

1. Request activation code by email
2. View Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
3. Type activation code here to unlock. Until you activate the form, you will not be able to enter any information into the fields. To request an activation code, click the activation button. If you don’t see the following panel, check the topic above “Why is the Activation button not working?”

Select the top option if you use Microsoft Outlook and this is your PC. Select the bottom option to access your web account e.g. Gmail, Hotmail, Eircom, etc.

Gmail, for example, will ask you for your permission to proceed. Click “Allow”.

Once you reply “Yes” to this prompt, an email will be automatically created in your Gmail account (you may be asked for a password) and you should click “Send” (see below). Please be patient during these steps because it can take a few minutes depending on the speed of your PC and the Internet connection.

What will happen when I send the activation email?

 Answer – a response will be received to your email address within a few minutes containing a six-digit code. Enter the code, click on the first entry field and you will be able to complete the form.
Please note the message “Form unlocked” appearing beside the activation code

A message appeared about my webmail but nothing else has happened. What do I do now?

A draft email has been created in your default email folder.

Answer –  Check the taskbar, at the bottom of the screen, to see if there is an option waiting for your input.

What is my Certificate Number

If you applied to the SEC grant in 2020/21 you will have been issued a certificate number. It is an eight digit ID number in this format 100xxxxx that helps the SEC identify you in our files. (You should try to have it to hand when you call us or send us an email). Your certificate number will be the same every year. You will find it on last year’s application form or in the subject line of emails we have sent to you.

What is my Application form password?

You will be emailed the Application form after you submit the Registration form.

You will be sent an SMS with your Application form password to the email you entered on your Registration Form.

If you have lost your password, request it again by emailing

If you are applying to the grant for the first time leave this box blank, you will receive your certificate number when we email you your application form

What internet browser should I use?

Our grant application system is compatible with most browsers except Microsoft Edge. Please do not use Microsoft Edge to complete your application.

 What does Dependent Child mean?

We allocate an allowance for each of your children that you are rearing. It is very important that you include all your dependent children on the Registration Form so we can give you the right allowance. If you do not list all your dependent children you may receive a smaller grant amount.

For the SEC grant, a dependent child means your child, including a foster child, who on 15 January 2021 is:

  • Under the age of 18
  • Over 18 but under 24 and in full time secondary, further or higher education
  • Aged over 18, residing with you, and certified as unable to work due to a physical or medical condition

Who should I include in the name section?

The means test is based on your total household income. You should include your first and last name and your spouse/partner/cohabitant’s name. If the second parent of the child for whom you are applying is not your current spouse/partner/cohabitant, you do not need to include their details. Instead, you can explain on your application form any relevant details, such as maintenance you might receive from them.

What is the closing date for registration?

You must complete and submit the registration form before midnight on 30 November 2020.

If you have not yet received an offer of a school place for your child from the school by 30th November 2020 your Registration form will be accepted after the deadline. You should submit your Registration Form as soon as you receive your offer of a place from the school.

What is the closing date for applications?

You must submit the application form by email before midnight on 15 January 2021.

You must then gather together your supporting documentation, including the verification of religion form, and post them to the SEC office before 15 February 2021. If you send documents by post without having also submitted the application by email, your application will be rejected, the documents returned to you and no grant will be allocated.

I received an SEC grant last year, do I have to re-apply this year?

Yes, you must complete the three steps of the application process for the 2021/22 school year even if you received a grant for the previous school year.

How do I find my Eircode?

Go to the Eircode site, enter your postal address and your code will be displayed. If your house is a recent build and does not yet have an Eircode, please let us know this by emailing

What schools are included in the SEC Grant scheme?

Go to this page to see the list of secondary schools included in the SEC Grant scheme.

Whose contact details should I include on the form?

You should include your name, your address, your email address and your mobile number. The SEC will only contact the person in the “Your Name” box on the form. Enter your partner, cohabitant or spouse in the other name box. If you are living alone you can enter Not Applicable or N/A in the other name box.

What email address should I use?

You can use your personal email address, one that you check regularly so that you don’t miss any emails from us. Some work email accounts will send our emails to the junk mail folder or could be deleted by the company firewall. Our system is not compatible with Hotmail email addresses so you will need to create a different email for your grant application. We recommend using Gmail. If you think you might have missed correspondence from us contact

Should I include all my children on the registration form?

Include all children under 18 years old and all children 18-24 years old who are in education, as well as any of your children aged over 18 who are unable to work due to a physical or medical condition.

The SEC gives an allowance for each of your children under 18 years old and for children 18-24 years old who are in education. If you complete this section incorrectly you may not receive the amount of grant as you may be eligible for.

What level do I put in for my child?

Enter the class or year they will be starting in September 2021/22 e.g if they are entering first year in 2021/22, then select “Form 1”. If they are completing 6th year at the moment enter 3rd level if they are planning on continuing education and not entering full time employment in September 2021/22

The SEC gives an allowance for each of your children under 18 years old and for children 18-24 years old who are in education. If you complete this section incorrectly you may not receive the amount of grant you may be eligible for.

If you select Infant, Primary or 3rd level, additional boxes on the form will disappear as we do not need to know further information.

One of my children goes to a secondary school which is not eligible for a SEC grant, how do I include them on the form?

Include them as normal, but for secondary school they are attending select the “Other” option.

Is my information secure?

The risks associated with sensitive documents have always been high, but in a world where people regularly access and transmit those documents on their mobile devices and public networks, the risks are higher than ever. The most effective solution is to assign security parameters that are an integral part of the document itself.

Adobe Acrobat is designed to protect electronic documents inside and outside the network with convenient, easy-to-use document-security capabilities that encourage users to keep information private.

Our solutions are based on the most current versions of Adobe Acrobat Pro and Adobe Reader DC.

The documents are protected with 256-bit AES encryption using Adobe Acrobat Pro, for your security. Other products may not render the form correctly and that is why you must use Adobe for completing the application process. More information is available by downloading this document

I am still having a problem on my PC. What do I do?

If you are still having difficulties, please send a screenshot of your screen to with a detailed explanation of your problem. Follow the instructions below to locate the Windows Snipping Tool in order to create the image:

What internet browser and computer set up should I use?

Security of your personal data is very important and the system is designed with the highest security available presently.

You will need to use a laptop or a PC that is running Windows 7 or later. Older operating systems such as XP or Vista will not be compatible with current security standards.

Our grant application system is compatible with most browsers except Microsoft Edge. Please do not use Microsoft Edge to complete your application.

Similar to the registration submission you will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and not any other version of Adobe. Other versions may allow you complete the application and send it but we wont be able to upload the information to our system and the application will need to be completed again using Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.

Gmail accounts work well with Adobe but some email addresses conflict with it and can cause difficulties e.g. Hotmail, Yahoo.

You will need to use a PC or laptop preferably with the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat  Reader DC. Tablets and phones won’t let you fill in the form

All boxes surrounded with red are mandatory and must be completed to allow us to process your form and proceed with your application for the grant.

What is the closing date for applications?

You must submit the application form by email before midnight on 15 January 2021.

You must then gather together your supporting documentation, including the verification of religion form, and post them to the SEC office before 15 February 2021. If you send documents by post without having also submitted the application by email, your application will be rejected, the documents returned to you and no grant will be allocated.

What are the activation code boxes for?

The Activation Code establishes a secure link between your email address and the SEC.

Click on the box and your email account will draft an email to send to SEC so that you can prove that when you have completed the application it can be emailed to us. Click all continue and allow commands in the popup screens selecting the email you are using and when the draft appears, hit the send button. You will receive a reply within a minute or so with the activation code for you to enter in the blank box. Then click outside the box and the application will be unlocked for you to complete it.

What email address should I use?

You can use your personal email address, one that you check regularly so that you don’t miss any emails from us. Other applicants have found that some work email accounts will file our emails in their junk mail folder or be deleted by the company firewall. We have also found that Hotmail sometimes doesn’t receive or send emails with the Registration Form or Application Form attached. If you think you might have missed correspondence from us contact

Section A:

What are the initials and months schedule at the top of the application?

These are the children for whom you are applying for a grant. We have a record of all of your dependent children from your Registration form. In this section we only need to know the religious denomination of the children you are applying for as this is one of the eligibility criteria for the grant. Enter the child’s religion in this section.

Find the List of SEC Approved churches here 

If you think you may have entered your children incorrectly on the registration form please email immediately and we will email you an amended application form with all the children you are applying for a grant on it

Section B:

What is Employment status?

Select the status from the drop down boxes that is nearest to your present employment status. If you expect a change of employment status in the near future e.g. redundancy please insert a comment in the comment line provided at the bottom of the section.

If you are single, living alone, or separated or divorced or widowed select Not Applicable for Parent 2. You do not need to enter any details here unless you are a two income household

I was employed in 2019 but I am unemployed now, what should I put for employment status?

Select unemployed and type into the comments section of the form the date and year your employment ended

Employer name -enter the name of your employer here and if you are self-employed simply type in “self” or the trade name you use.

Company Director – If you are a company Director and you own 25% or more of the shares in the company either on your own or jointly with your spouse/partner you will need to send in the most recent full set of financial statements when you get to print the application to sign and post in to the SEC.

Religious Denomination – please insert your own denomination by selecting from the drop down options or typing in the name of your church. If your church is not on the drop down list you may still be eligible, although the church must be a recognised protestant church by the SEC.

Marital Status

I live in Ireland with my children but my husband/wife lives abroad. What do I enter for my marital status? You must enter Married – Geographical separation is not a marital status.

If you select single, living alone, recently separated, legally separated, divorced or widowed you can select Not Applicable for Parent 2.

Section C

Family Income Details

What period do I include for the questions in this section?

Calendar year 2019.

Where do I get my income information? 

You get this information from the Revenue Commissioners. If you are a PAYE employee you will request a 2019 Statement of Liability from the Revenue website (this document replaces the P21). Instead of a P60 or P45 for each of your employments you will request 2019 Employment Detail Summary directly from Revenue and this will list all your employments in 2019.

If you or your partner are a PAYE employee with rental income or self employed you will have a Form 11 Return Summary from Revenue which you can get from Revenue website or your accountant.

Find out how to request your Statement of Liability here

Find out how to request your Employment summary/summaries here

Note: be sure to download the pdf versions of your PAYE/USC Statement of Liabilities and 2019 Employment detail summaries before printing them . If you print from the browser it does not have all the relevant information for you to fill in the application form.

I am a PAYE employee and my partner is  self-assessed tax so we are individually assessed. What do I select from the drop down boxes at “Income taxed on the basis of”


Even if you are self-assessed and your partner is PAYE you select the option above from the drop down options.

My partner and I are jointly assessed for tax under the PAYE system. Where do I find the numbers to insert in the boxes?

You will need to refer to your Statement of Liability for the tax year ended 31 December 2019 and take the figures for income, PAYE tax, and USC, from the boxes circled in red shown in the sample below:

For employee PRSI contributions you will need to refer to your Employment Detail Summary for the year ended 31 December 2019 from the boxes circled in red shown in the sample below:

My partner and I are jointly self-assessed where do we get the figures to put in on the application at Section C?

You will need to refer to the Calculation section of your Form 11 Summary and take the figures from it. See the examples below:

Example 1-

Example 2-

Example 3-

If your household’s income was from the Department of Social Protection only in 2019

Select Social Welfare only and scroll down to the Social Welfare payments section.

You will need to request a Social Welfare Statement for 2019 from Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection here


Non Taxable Other Sources of Income

We rely on support from family and friends to cover some of our living costs. How do we tell you about this?

You must disclose all sources of financial support to you, even if this is just a small sum to help with occasional costs. The means test process is very comprehensive and if we discover that you have not fully disclosed your means, we will not process your application and no grant will be provided. If you receive any support from family and friends you must include this in Non taxable other sources of income and select Assistance from family/friends.

Scroll down section C to the heading and select  from the drop down list and insert the amount received in 2019.

I receive maintenance from my child’s other parent. How do I tell you about this?

If you or your child receive maintenance or financial support from the other parent of your child enter the total amount received in 2019 in non-taxable other source of income and select Maintenance/Financial support from the dropdown list.

I have no or almost no income

To complete a means test we need to be satisfied that we understand how you manage to pay your bills and expenses, and maintain your standard of living. If we are not satisfied, we reserve the right not to process your application. If you have no income, or a very low income, you must be prepared to explain and demonstrate with appropriate documents, how you manage your household finances.

Section D:

Enter your family home in this section. Enter the monthly rent or mortgage payments you paid in 2019.

Enter your business premises if they are owned by you or your farm on the second line. If your farm has multiple Eircodes/multiple addresses enter the largest acreage Eircode/Townland here and enter the total value of all land in current value etc.

If you are still unsure what to enter in Section D and E, please email us a description of your situation to and we will advise you.

We live in a house that is provided as part of my employment and we also have a house that we rent out that we intend to move into on our retirement. How do I enter these details on the application?

Firstly in Section D go to the first line of boxes headed and select   ‘Provided rent-free’ from the drop down list.

Then in Section E enter the details of the house you own but don’t live in and is rented out. If it is not rented out insert €0.01 in the rental box.

We inherited my wife’s parents’ farm 15 years ago and we bought additional land 10 years ago to improve its viability and we still owe money to the bank for this extra land. How do we enter this on the application?

In Section D under the heading enter the option “owned by us with a mortgage” and complete the details as requested showing the full estimated current value of the entire farm and the current balance of the loan outstanding.

We used to live in England and when we returned to Ireland we decided to keep the house we owned in England and we are renting it out to supplement our income from employment. Do we enter this into the property asset section of section E?

Yes. Type in “House” for the asset type box and convert the Sterling £ values and rental income into euro € using an accurate currency conversion

Do I include all mortgage/rent payments on the form?

Only include the rent/mortgage payments for the home that you live in.

For what year do I include my mortgage/rent payments?

Include the mortgage/rent payments that you paid in 2019

Section E – List of Assets

This is section is for you to tell us about properties you own or partially own, other than your family home, farm or business premises. Enter the current value of each property and the current loan balance of each property. Do not include land that you currently farm yourself in this section. Add its value to Section D Family Farm Current Value.

You must include all property that you own overseas. If you do not fully declare your assets, your application will be discontinued and no grant will be awarded.

If the balance of any field on the form is zero, insert €0.01

I have additional properties other than my home/business, what do I need to provide?

Applicants need to supply their property tax documents showing the property tax band their property is in.

I only have a small amount in my savings account, should I include it in the Assets section?

Include all savings accounts owned by you or your spouse even if there is only a small amount in the account.

Section F – Liabilities

Enter current personal liabilities, for example a car loan, credit union loan or credit card here. Do not enter any business liabilities as they will be included in your Revenue documents and business accounts

Section G – Special Circumstances

Medical Costs

We give you an allowance of medical costs you incurred for your family in the assessable year. We take the figure for health expenses on your Statement of Liability if you are a PAYE employee or Form 11/Notice of Assessment if you are self-employed. Please do not send us receipts. We only take the figure on your Revenue documents and give an additional allowance for the portion not covered by the tax relief.

Example: Statement of Liability shows Health Expenses Credit of €253. Total value of health expenses is €253 x 5 = €1265. As Revenue has given a credit for 1/5 of the expenses, the SEC will give credit for the remaining 4/5, so the health expense allowance is €1265 – €253 = €1012

What do I need to include with my documents to get my medical costs included?

The following are examples of Special Circumstances that could be included on your application if they apply to you.

Special Circumstances are considered on a case by case basis and a clear cover letter with an outline of the costs to you in 2019 only would be helpful.

It is assumed that all available tax relief will be claimed by you

I paid for a Professional Home Carer to attend to my elderly relative in their home:

Provide a cover letter outlining the proportion of the cost to you.

Tax claim form eg Form 12

Provide a social welfare statement if you receive any social welfare in relation to the care of your elderly relative


You pay 25% of your relative’s home care bill of €40,000 per annum. You pay tax at a higher rate. Respite grant of €1700 is received.

Bill €40,000 – €1700 =  €38,000

Your expense is €38,300 x 25% = €9575

Your tax relief is €9575 x 40% = €3830

Maximum Special Circumstances allowance in this example: €5745

My elderly parent spent a short period of 2019 in a nursing home and I paid part of the cost with other relatives

Provide a cover letter outlining the total cost and what percentage of the total cost you paid. Please include dates.

Tax claim form eg form 12

The SEC will not include additional nursing home costs e.g. activities, hairdresser etc.


The average wait time between applying for the Fair Deal Scheme and approval is 4-6 weeks.

Average nursing home cost is €1610 per week.

Maximum of four weeks will be considered by the SEC

You pay 40% of your relatives’ nursing home costs of €1800 per week plus €150 activity costs. No respite grant is received. You pay tax at 20%. Your relative stayed in nursing home for six weeks and received a total bill of €11,700. Your portion to pay is €4680

SEC allowable costs: €1610 x 4 = €6440

Your contribution: €6440 x 40% = €2576

Applicant tax relief: €2576 x 20% = €515.20

Special Circumstance: €2576 – €515.20 = €2060.80

I pay for my parents’ long term nursing home costs:

The Fair Deal Scheme is available to all people who require long term nursing home care.

If you paid for costs before your relative’s fair deal scheme was finalised please outline this in a letter listing costs in 2019 and the date that the Fair Deal Scheme was finalised. See previous example

Provide bill, receipt and bank statement highlighting the payment in 2019.

Provide a copy of communication from Fair Deal Scheme confirming your application

My partner/child has a long term illness

Provide Tax claim form for the medical costs you have claimed relief on from Revenue eg form 11, form 12, Med 2

If you have additional costs not provided by other schemes, provide a cover letter outlining costs to you in 2019 associated with the long term illness e.g. specialised equipment, adaption of your house, cost of getting to appointments/hospital, overnight stays etc

My child has Dyslexia and in 2019 received a psychological assessment and attends special classes in addition to school

The SEC does not generally give allowances for Dyslexia unless costs were deemed necessary by an educational psychologist.

My child has Dyspraxia or DCD

Provide a cover letter listing costs of supports and/or classes your child attends in relation to their Dyspraxia.

Provide documentary evidence showing a professional recommendation for your child to attend certain classes/activities due to dyspraxia

An example of support: occupational therapy, physiotherapy, exercise programmes, counselling for child or parents, psychotherapy, drama therapy, speech and language therapy

My child has an autism diagnosis and this incurs non-medical costs

Please provide a cover note setting out the costs incurred in 2019 and they will be considered on a case by case basis.

Please contact or 01 551 4693 if you wish to discuss your circumstances or are unsure which documents to provide


Verification of Religion Section

Do not fill in this form when submitting your electronic application by email

You will fill in this form once it is printed, in the presence of a witnessing priest/clergy/minister of religion from a Reformed/Protestant denomination recognised by the SEC

Write the denomination e.g Baptist, RCCG etc. of your child. Do not enter Protestant.

Both parents, if applicable, must sign the form.

If you are a minister of religion and applying to the grant for your child/ren you cannot sign the verification of religion as a witness. The Verification of Religion must be witnessed by another minister of religion.

What does the error message mean when I click Verify on the Application Form?

You have missed filling in a mandatory red box on the form

Select None if the box does not apply to you.

Enter €0.01 if the amount does not apply to you

Select a dropdown option or type in information

For the meaning of a specific code click here

Once we have emailed the application have we completed the process to apply for a grant?

No. You will need to print off the application after you emailed it and then sign it and have the verification of religion section signed. Then post it in as instructed on the back page with the verification documents relevant to your details you have inserted on the application.


If you have a query in completing the application that you cannot find an answer for in this document please first read the Application Form guidelines

before emailing the details of your query to