Families urged to check if their children are eligible for free school meals

school meal on a tray

Posted on: 28 April 2020

Families in Devon are being urged to check if their children are eligible for free school meals as the coronavirus crisis creates more hardship across the county.

Nationally applications for Universal Credit have gone up dramatically with initial estimates of an extra 10,000 claims in Devon in the last two weeks of March.

Now Devon County Council is appealing to hard-pressed families to make sure they do not miss out on free food for their children – even if they are not currently in school.

Schools will provide meals for vulnerable children and children of key workers who are eligible and currently in class. But eligible children who are at home are entitled to food vouchers worth £15 a week which can be exchanged at most supermarkets.

Devon County Council administers the eligibility checking service for free school meals for the majority of state funded schools in the county and the application process is quick and easy. An application can be made in two minutes from a phone, tablet, laptop or PC and there will be an immediate decision at the end of the process.

Photo of Councillor James McInnesDevon County Council’s Cabinet member for schools, James McInnes, said: “We know that lockdown is causing hardship for many families throughout Devon.

“The explosion in applications for Universal Credit demonstrate that only too starkly. So I would urge anyone who thinks they may be eligible to apply, even if their children aren’t currently in school.”

A child may be eligible for free school meals if their family receives:

  • 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 guaranteed 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 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit – if you applied on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

Families can apply online, and need to supply their child or children’s name, date of birth and current school as well as their own name, date of birth and National Insurance number.

Families can check whether their child’s school qualifies online.

More information is available on our website,and on this webpage.

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