FAQs

FAQs

  • Am I entitled to Free School Meals?
    Free School Meals are available to any full-time student who is still at school and eligible. This includes nursery children who attend full days and also sixth form students. Meals are not available for students at further education level. You can get Free School Meals for your child if you or your partner gets either:

    • Income Support.
    • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
    • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
    • The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
    • Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income of £16,190 or less, as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs

    Where a parent is entitled to Working Tax Credit during the four-week period immediately after their employment ceases, or after they start to work less than 16 hours per week, their children are entitled to free school lunches. Children who receive a qualifying benefit in their own right are also eligible to receive Free School Meals. Back to Top
  • Cancellation of Free School Meals
    If you wish to cancel your child's Free School Meals, you can do so at any time. Applicants who cease to be in receipt of Income Support or Income-Based Jobseeker's Allowance must cancel their entitlement to Free School Meals immediately.
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  • Data protection
    LGSS is registered under the Data Protection Act. Any personal information you supply will be processed only in accordance with the Data Protection Act. The information you supply will be used by LGSS to process your application for Free School Meals and will be shared with your Local Authority or School and with the Department of Work and Pensions for the purpose of assessing your eligibility.
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  • Do I need to include all of my children?
    You should include all of your children that you would like to apply to receive Free School Meals for that are in full time school education. This includes sixth forms.
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  • How do you assess my application?
    If you are in receipt of an eligible benefit we use an online checking system provided by the Department of Education, which enables us to decide whether you are eligible or not. The online system connects with the Department of Work and Pensions and tells us whether you are eligible for Free School Meals. It does not provide us with any other information. You must tell your Local Authority or School if you stop receiving your benefit.
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  • How long will the Free School Meals entitlement last?
    Your Free School Meals Provider will contact you to confirm entitlement has started. Your child will continue to receive Free School Meals for as long as your eligibility can be confirmed.
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  • How will the school know my child is entitled?
    Your child's school will be notified of your eligibility by the Local Authority once they have authorised your application. However, you are advised to contact the school directly to find out when the Free School Meals will start.
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  • If my claim is successful, how will I know?
    You will receive immediate notification once you have completed and submitted the form, whether your application is successful or not.
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  • My National Insurance Number is not being accepted
    The form you are completing checks that the National Insurance Number is valid. If you are having problems please check that the national insurance number you are entering is correct. If you are still having problems please contact the Local Authority or School direct.
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  • What are the Free School Meal Standards?
    All food provided by schools must meet national nutritional standards. These ensure that children are provided with a healthy, balanced diet. For further information on the standards, please visit the School Food Trust website. Free School Meals are the best way to make sure your child is getting all the nutrients they need to be able to learn.
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  • What do I do if my school is not in the list?
    You could contact your school directly to find out which Local Authority or School it is maintained by. This information can also be found out at www.edubase.gov.uk.
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  • What happens to my application now?
    You will receive immediate notification once you have completed and submitted the form, whether your application is successful or not.
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  • What if my circumstances change?
    You should notify the Local Authority or School if:

    • You start work and come off benefits
    • Your benefit changes
    • You change address
    • Your child changes school
    • You have another child starting school for the first time.

    Failure to notify your Local Authority or School of any changes to your benefit may mean you have to pay for any meals taken whilst you were not eligible.
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  • What are Free School Meals?
    It is entitlement for your child to receive a free two course meal each school day.
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  • What is the reference number?
    When a new application is made, the application is automatically given a reference number; this makes it easier to find your details on any future queries.
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  • When should I apply?
    You should apply when you first start to receive a benefit. You must make sure that you inform your Local Authority or School if you stop receiving your benefit or your address changes.
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  • Why do I need to agree to your declaration statement?
    This enables us to use your details to check if they match with the relevant benefit agencies. This means in the majority of cases we do not need to see any documentary evidence, and your entitlement to Free School Meals will be checked much quicker.
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  • Why do I need to be at least 15 years of age to apply online?
    To apply for Free School Meals you must have a National Insurance Number / NASS number, you will not have a National Insurance Number until you are 15 years of age. If the applicant is under 15 years of age and needs to apply for Free School Meals please contact your Local Authority or School directly.
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  • Why do I need to provide a National Insurance Number or NASS Number?
    Your National Insurance Number / NASS number is used to check if you are in receipt of the qualifying benefit/s on the online checking system.
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  • Why do you ask for my relationship to the child?
    If the relationship of the applicant is anything other than son or daughter we will ask for evidence to show that the child(ren) lives in the household and the applicant receives benefits on behalf of them. If further evidence is required we will contact you directly by your preferred contact method.
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  • Why do you need my details if I am completing the form on behalf of the applicant?
    We need to know your name so that if there are any queries on the application for Free School Meals we have a suitable contact.
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  • Why might the school I wish to apply for not be available to select?
    This would indicate that the chosen school is not maintained by a participating Local Authority or School. For example, this school may be maintained by a different Local Authority or may be privately maintained.
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