Free School Meals
PLEASE READ THE NOTES OF GUIDANCE FOR FREE SCHOOL MEALS BEFORE COMPLETING THE APPLICATION
This information is intended as a guide to assist parents/guardians, whose children attend school in the London Borough of Sutton and who wish to apply for free school milk and/or meals.
1. Who qualifies for free school milk and meals?
Applications for free school milk and meals will be considered from families currently receiving:
- Income Support (IS)
- Income Based Job Seekers Allowance (IBJSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA(IR))
- Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit, and have an annual income (as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) that as of 6 April 2010 does not exceed £16,190. Note: From 1 May 2009, where a parent is entitled to Working Tax Credit during the four-week period immediately after their employment ceases, or after they start to work less than 16 hours per week, theirare entitled to free school milk and meals.
- Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
Applications for free school milk will only be considered for children attending primary school up to and including year 6 and special schools.
Children who receive Income Support or Income Based Job Seekers Allowance in their own right are also entitled to receive free school meals.
2. How to Apply
You should apply directly to the school that your child attends. In order for the school to process your application, they will need to see any one of the following items that will prove that you are in receipt of one of the benefits:
a) Income Support (IS)/Income Based Jobseekers Allowance (IBJSA)
- A current Income Support (IS) or Income Based Job Seekers Allowance (IBJSA) benefit book showing orders still to be cashed. Cancelled, expired or empty books cannot be accepted.
- A current giro showing applicant's name, address and National Insurance number. It should also show the abbreviations "INC SUPP", "IS" or “IBJSA”.
- Any recent letter from Jobcentre Plus, dated within the last three weeks that the application is being made, which states the name, address and National Insurance number of the claimant and indicating that the claimant is entitled to Income Support or Income Based Job Seekers Allowance. General letters not specifying benefit entitlement cannot be accepted.
- If Income Support or Income Based Job Seekers Allowance is paid directly into your bank account and printed proof is not available, some schools may have a standard pro-forma that can be completed by your local Jobcentre Plus office. Please check with the school.
b) Employment Support Allowance (ESA(IR))
- Any recent letter from Jobcentre Plus, dated within the last three weeks that the application is being made, which states the name, address and National Insurance number of the claimant and indicating that the claimant is entitled to Employment Support Allowance. General letters not specifying benefit entitlement cannot be accepted.
Employment Support Allowance is normally paid directly into your bank account. If printed proof is not available, some schools may have a standard pro-forma that can be completed by your local Jobcentre Plus office. Please check with the school.
c) Asylum seekers
- For those persons being supported by a local authority, a recent letter from that authority on headed paper confirming their financial support to the pupil’s family.
- A recent supporting letter from Refugee Network Sutton on headed paper*.
- SAL1/SAL2 (Standard Acknowledgement Letter) issued from the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND)*.
- IS96 issued by the IND. This is issued as a replacement for the SAL1 or SAL2*.
- Home Office letter of refusal (where Asylum Seekers are appealing against an unfavourable decision)*.
- ARC identity card*.
- Home Office letter indicating Exceptional Leave to Remain, Exceptional Leave to Enter, or Indefinite Leave to Remain*.
* Unless the applicant is in receipt of the first evidence above, schools will contact the Enabling Team at Sutton’s Civic Offices to request confirmation that an Asylum Seeker’s eligibility is still valid. This is because the Home Office does not always request that documentation issued to families be returned following a decision of their status.
d) Child tax credit
- A complete TC602 Inland Revenue Tax Credit Award notice, for current tax year, if available.
If the Tax Credit Award notice is not available for the current tax year, the most recent notice for the previous tax year must be provided, with the current year notice being provided as soon as it is available.
e) Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
- Pension Credit M1000 Award Notice. The ‘How Pension Credit has been worked out for….’ section of this form clearly shows details of any Guaranteed Pension Credit in payment.
3. How often do you have to apply?
Once an application is approved, free school meals will be authorised for a set period of time. The school will issue a receipt giving the dates of this period, and this should be retained. Once this period has expired the application for free school meals will need to be renewed.
4. What if your circumstances change?
If your entitlement to any of the benefits above stops during the authorised period, you must notify the school immediately. All free school meals/milk taken after the date that your benefit stops will be charged for at the full rate.