Free School Meals is a benefit awarded in respect of children under the age of 19 where the parent or guardian is getting one of the qualifying benefits below. Also 19 year olds where Child Benefit is being received for them or where the pupil is defined as independent and is getting the following benefits him/her self:
Eligibility is based on one of the following benefits :
- Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods)
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The guarantee element of Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit (provided you're not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
- Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
* You may still be entitled to free school meals, however, even if you are receiving Working Tax Credit, but only during the 4 week period immediately after your employment finishes or your hours are reduced to less than 16hrs per week.
Please note - people who work less than 16 hours a week are not entitled to receive Working Tax Credit. This exemption for allowing WTC only applies to the 4 week period after you stop receiving it. Under any other circumstances the existence of WTC means that free school meals should not be allowed.
The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit.
Children who receive IS or IBJSA in their own right are also entitled to receive free school meals.
By Law no other category of support payment or combination of Tax Credits qualifies for free school meals. There are no other circumstances that can legally justify the provision of a free meal.
Special arrangements are in place for asylum seekers who do not have access to these particular benefits and this is explained in more detail by your benefits agency.
From 5th December 2005, the Civil Partnership Act came into force, giving legal recognition to same sex couples. For Free School Meals eligibility purposes, this means that same sex couples who live together and who are claiming the above listed income—reIated benefits can claim free school meals for their dependant children.
If you think you may eligible for a free school bus pass, applications can be made via the following link: