CHANGE TO FREE SCHOOL MEALS ELIGIBILITY
The introduction of Universal Credit (that is replacing many benefits, eg jobseekers’ allowance) means there are changes to free school meals eligibility for children of qualifying parents. The new criteria for free school meals eligibility is that all families in receipt of Universal Credit and earning £7,400 or lower per annum will be entitled to free school meals.
From 1 April 2018, all existing free school meals claimants will continue to receive free school meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out (currently to roll out in Shropshire from May 2018 and scheduled to complete in March 2022), even if their circumstances change eg earnings rise above the new threshold during the roll out period.
Any child who gains eligibility for free school meals after 1 April 2018 (eg in July 2019), will also continue to receive free school meals during the Universal Credit roll out period.
Once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, any existing claimants that no longer meet the eligibility criteria at that point (because they are earning above the threshold or are no longer a recipient of Universal Credit) will continue to receive free school meals until the end of their current phase of education (ie primary or secondary).
During the roll out of Universal Credit, protection arrangements mean that once a pupil has claimed free school meals and has been found eligible, there is no requirement from the Department for further eligibility checks to be undertaken.
We therefore encourage parents who believe they may qualify for this (whether in Key Stage 1 or 2) to make an application for this via: http://www.shropshire.gov.uk/free-school-meals.
Please contact the School Office if you have any other queries regarding this.