How to claim free school meals
Free School Meals is a benefit awarded in respect of children under the age of 19 where the parent or guardian is in receipt of one of the benefits shown below:
- Income Support;
- Income Based Jobseekers Allowance (IB JSA);
- Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999;
- Child Tax Credit
- The Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit.
Note: Children in receipt of Income Support and Income Based Jobseekers Allowance (IBJSA) in their own right are also entitled to free school meals.
In the first two categories above, parents / carers should obtain a Free School Meals application form from their child's school, or from a Neighbourhood Office. When completed, the form should be sent / taken to the child's school. Parents / carers can ensure free meals are provided promptly by supplying evidence of entitlement to the school, for example Benefits Agency letter or income support payment book. Photocopies of any such documentation may be taken by the school and retained on file.
Parents / carers who are asylum seekers must provide a letter, from either the Birmingham City Council Asylum Seekers Team or the National Asylum Support Service (Home Office) NASS, stating that they are receiving support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, in order to receive free school meals. Schools should keep photocopies of such letters. For audit purposes, schools are advised that the following information should also be recorded:
- The name of the office providing support.
- Date of the official letter verifying the parent status.
- For Child Tax Credit, HM Revenue and Customs will provide proof of entitlement to each applicant. The form is called Tax Credit Award Notice (TC602). Applicants are told that it must be retained by them and presented to schools as proof of entitlement to free meals.
For those in receipt of the 'Guaranteed' element of Pension Credit it is suggested that parents produce their 'Pension Credit M1000 Award Notice' as proof of entitlement. The 'How Pension Credit has been worked out for ...' section of this form clearly shows details of any Guaranteed Pension Credit in payment.
All claim forms and copies of proofs supporting a claim for Free School Meals are to be retained by the school.
Further information can be obtained from:
- School secretaries;
- Neighbourhood offices;
- Birmingham City Council Asylum Seekers Team : 0121 303 4003;
- Birmingham City Council Housing. Lead Officer, Asylum Seeker & Refugee Team : 0121 464 2795