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Free school meals

Free school meals are available to children up to 19 years of age who attend Warwickshire County Council maintained schools and maintained nursery schools on a full-time basis i.e. before and after the lunch break, and whose parents/carers are in receipt of a qualifying benefit.

Qualifying for Free School Meals

The current criteria for claiming free school meals are:

  • Income support
  • Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • 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 - your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.

If your child is eligible for free school meals, they’ll remain eligible until they finish the phase of schooling (primary or secondary) they’re in on 31 March 2022.

Temporary qualification for free school meals

You become eligible to claim free school meals if you receive a Working Tax Credit run-on: this is the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit.

In order to qualify for free school meals after the four week period expires, you will need to be in receipt of one of the other qualifying benefits listed above, which will need to be verified.

Unfortunately there is no 4 week ‘run-on’ of free school meals if you become entitled to Working Tax Credit because you have taken work: your entitlement to claim free school meals ends when your qualifying benefit ends

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