Could your child be entitled to a free school meal?

Bridgend County Borough Council is reminding parents, guardians and carers of school-age children what the eligibility criteria is for free school meals.

Children whose families or carers receive the following benefits are entitled to receive free school meals at schools across the county borough:

·       Income support.

·       Income-based jobseeker’s allowance.

·       Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

·       Income-related employment and support allowance.

·       Child tax credit (but not working tax credit) if your annual income as assessed by tax credits does not exceed £16,190.

·       Guaranteed element of pension credit.

·       Working tax credit ‘run-on’ (i.e. the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for working tax credit).

·       Universal credit (not in work).

·       Universal credit (in work) where your award is based on net annual earnings of less than £7,400 from your employment or self-employment.

Young people who receive income support or income-based job seeker allowance in their own right are also entitled to receive free school meals.

Over 6,000 pupils currently receive free school meals and applications have increased 25% in the past year.

Cllr Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, said: “School meals are an important part of ensuring a child receives all the energy and nutrition they need in order to concentrate and benefit within a learning environment.

“We want to ensure that nobody who is entitled to a free school meal misses out, and I encourage parents, carers and guardians to check to see whether their children may be eligible.”

Free school meals are awarded for each child separately and not for the household. You will need to complete a new application form if you have another child starting school for the first time.

You do not need to re-apply if your child moves to another school in the borough. However, you should tell us if your child changes school so we can keep our records up to date.

If your child’s new school tells us they are a pupil there, we will update our records. We will also inform them of your child’s eligibility for free school meals.

To apply for free school meals online, you can submit an application by selecting ‘Application for free school meals/distinctive school uniform’ in the ‘Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction’ section of My Account.

You can also learn more by visiting the free school meals page at the Welsh Assembly website.

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