Free School Meals
Do you qualify ?
Around 1.8 million UK children are entitled to free school meals but more than 330,000 pupils don't get their entitlement. For some children, the social stigma or even teasing attached to 'being on free dinners' puts them off. Often parents don't realise they're entitled or are discouraged by the likely bureaucracy.
Does it matter?
YES! CHILDREN WHO EAT WELL DURING THE DAY CONCENTRATE BETTER IN LESSONS. SITTING DOWN TO A MEAL TOGETHER IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF CHILDREN'S SOCIAL EDUCATION. ALSO, ONE CHILD IN FOUR DOESN'T GET A HOT DINNER IN THE EVENING.
IN ENGLAND, 21% OF PUPILS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR FREE SCHOOL MEALS. PARENTS OR GUARDIANS IN ENGLAND DO NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR SCHOOL MEALS IF THEY RECEIVE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- An income-related employment and support allowance (this benefit was introduced 27 October 2008)
- The guarantee element of State Pension Credit
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Children who receive Income Support or Income-Based Job Seekers Allowance in their own right are also eligible to receive free school meals
- Child Tax Credit (but are not entitled to Working Tax Credit) and from 6 April 2012 your annual income does not exceed £16,190. (as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs)
- Working Tax Credit Run On the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
From 6 April 2012, Working Tax Credit rules for couples have changed and because of the increase in the number of hours a couple has to work in order to qualify, some families may have lost their entitlement to Working Tax Credit. Those families may be entitled to free school meals if they now satisfy any of the above criteria.
However, as soon as you stop claiming any of the qualifying benefits listed above, your entitlement to claim free school meals also ends.