Pension Credits & Free School Meals

Pension Credits and Free School Meals

If you are the parent, guardian or carer and you are receiving the guarantee credit element of State Pension Credit, you should be aware that your children may be eligible to receive free school meals where they are provided.

Are you eligible?

If you, or your partner, are receiving any of the following, you are eligible to request free school meals and milk for your child; income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, the guarantee element of Pension Credit, Child Tax Credit or support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

Free school meals can also be provided to those parents who still receive Working Tax Credit four weeks after their employment ends. If you are a parent working less than 16 hours, you are also eligible.

If you are a child receiving income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support, you can also receive free school meals. All eligible children must be within full-time education and can be from nursery age up until sixth-form age. University students are not eligible for free school means and should contact their Local Education Authority (LEA) to apply for higher education funding. Children under the age of five, whose parents are receiving the guarantee element of Pension Credit, are also eligible for free milk tokens.

These eligibility guidelines apply to children in England and Wales only. If you are a Scottish resident, you need to consult the separate eligibility criteria for free school meals.

Applying for free school meals

If the above criteria means that you are eligible for free meals, you should contact your LEA and request an application form from their education department. Providing that your application meets the criteria and you can provide proof of your pension credits, your LEA should agree to your request. Applications can be requested online at the DirectGov website, or by telephoning your LEA.

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