As a low-income parent or carer of a child, you may be finding it hard to make ends meet. Luckily, there is access to free school meals for those in the lower income brackets. Leeds City Council has released guidelines to make it clearer as to who is eligible for free school meals and who isn’t. Here is a breakdown of those guidelines and who receives a free meal at school.
Who Can Claim?
1. Key Stage One
Every child in Key Stage One now receives a free school lunch, no matter how much their parents earn. This is also extended to kids that attend a nursery attached to a school, but only if they are attending full days at that nursery.
2. Benefits without Conditions
There are certain benefits that enable parents to claim free school meals for their child without any conditions. In other words, if you receive this benefit, you can claim. These benefits include:
- Income Support
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
- Job Seeker’s Allowance
3. Benefits with Conditions
For those on Universal Credit, you can apply for free school meals if you applied after 1st April 2018 and you have a collective household income of less than £7,400 per year. This figure is after tax and does not include your benefits.
Equally, anyone who received Child Tax Credit and have a yearly taxable income of less than £16,190 can also receive free lunches. This will be assessed by HM Revenue and Customs.
4. Asylum Seekers and Immigrants
While not all asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrants are entitled to free school lunches, some are. Those parents and careers who are receiving support as per part V1 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 are eligible to claim free school meals.
Who Can’t Claim?
If you are receiving Working Tax Credits, unfortunately this does not make you eligible to apply for free school lunches. However, there is one exception; if you are receiving Working Tax Credit Run-On, you can apply. This is a benefit that gets paid for 4 weeks after employment ends or hours are reduced to less than 16 hours per week.
How to Claim
Firstly, you will need to hand a signed for in at your local One Stop Centre or housing office. You can also post it to:
Welfare and Benefits
P.O. BOX 60
2 Great George Street
If you are an asylum seeker currently receiving NASS support, you do not need to fill in any forms. You need to take a Home Office letter to your child’s school. This letter needs to show your name, date of birth, and NASS reference number. They will contact the Welfare and Benefits Department for you and organize the claim.
If you are a foster parent or carer, there is a different form for you to fill in. Contact the Welfare and Benefits department on 0113 222 4404 to find out more.
If you are in receipt of housing benefits or council tax support, you can contact your council to ask them to speak with the school. If you think you are entitled to school lunches but are not listed here, you can fill in a claim form from the Leeds Council website.