Children and young people, whose parents or carers receive certain benefits, are entitled to free school meals.
A child/young person may be eligible for free school meals provided certain eligibility criteria are met. If these criteria are met, the parent must apply for their child to receive free school meals.
The criteria are:
- Income Support
- Income Based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
Child Tax Credit, provided you not entitled to Working Tax Credit and their annual income does not exceed £16,190. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are responsible for assessing the level of annual income
Working Tax Credit 'run-on' - the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
Pupils who receive Income Support or Income Based Jobseekers Allowance in their own right are also entitled to receive free school meals.
How do I apply for Free school meals?
You can collect a form from your child’s school, from the Benefits Section at the Civic Centre or by contacting us using the details at the bottom of the page.
Completed applications forms with supporting documents are to be returned to the Benefits Section at the Civic Centre.
Can nursery children receive free school meals?
Pupils who attend Nursery classes on a part time basis are not eligible for Free Schools Meals. Pupils attending Nursery on a full time basis are eligible for Free Schools Meals.
How long does my eligibility last?
You will remain eligible for as long as you meet the qualifying criteria. If you have a change in your personal circumstances you must notify the Benefits Section at the Civic Centre immediately and HMRC.
If you do not notify the Benefits Section or HMRC of a change in your circumstances which affects your eligibility for Free school meals, and you continue to claim them, you may be required to pay back the cost to the Local Authority.
Do I need a separate form for children attending different schools?
No, one form is sufficient for all children attending the same school or different schools within the same Local Authority. However if your children attend schools in different Local Authority areas, you will need to be apply to each Local Authority concerned.
Are Parents/Carers notified of eligibility?
Parents/Carers will be notified if a claim for free school meals is successful or unsuccessful and if entitlement ends.
How often do I need to apply?
Initial applications can be made at any time during the school year. You will only need to submit a new application if, following a period of ineligibility, a change in your circumstances results in you becoming entitled again.