Meals and Uniform Grants are subject to Department of Education Criteria and Education and Library Board Approval.
Application forms are now available from your local Education and Library Board. Completed forms with full verification received will be given priority in date order received.
Who is entitled to receive free meals?
Children are entitled to free school meals if:
the parent/guardian is in receipt of Income Support, Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance or if a pupil claims Income Support in their own name; or,
the parents receive the Child Tax Credit; and are ineligible for the Working Tax Credit because they work less than 16 hours per week; and have an annual taxable income of £16,190 or less; or,
the parents receive Working Tax Credit and have an annual taxable income of £16,190 or less and whose child/children are born on or after 2 July 2002 and attends full-time nursery school, primary school or special school; or,
he/she has a statement of Special Educational Needs and is designated to require a special diet; or
he/she is a boarder at a special school; or,
he/she is the child of an asylum seeker supported by the Home Office National Asylum Support Service (NASS)
the parent receives the Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
What is the procedure for applying for Free School Meals?
An application form for free school meals has to be completed by Parent/Guardian /Claimant and forwarded to the Board in which you reside. Guidance can be obtained from your Local Education Board.
If my partner or I are eligible for Working Tax Credit am I entitled to claim Free School Meals for my children?
Parents who are eligible for Working Tax Credit can apply for pupils born on or after 2 July 2002 who attend full-time nursery schools and pupils who attend Primary/Special Schools.
Parents eligible for Working Tax Credit are not entitled to receive free school meals for children born on or before 1 July 2001.
When must I re-apply for Free Meals?
Parents must re-apply for free school meals once each year when a renewal request is sent to them from the Education and Library Board.
If my circumstances change must I notify my local Education Board?
If the following circumstances change parents must inform the appropriate Board immediately and re-apply for free school meals if necessary.
Parents must inform the Board immediately if:
Income Support / Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance / Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance / Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit) ceases
Claimant for Income Support / Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance / Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance / Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit) changes
The HM Revenue and Customs reassess your annual taxable income to above £16,190 or a change occurs in your Tax Credit claim.
The family change address
Child/children on claim change school
Addition/removal of child/children on claim
They become eligible for Working Tax Credit
Why have my children been removed from Free Meals?
Your children may have been removed because the Board did not receive a renewal application, which was sent to you, or you have changed address and did not inform the appropriate Board. If you have ceased to claim the appropriate benefit then the children will have been removed from the free school meals list.
If my child goes to school in another Board what must I do?
Parents must always apply to the Board’s area they reside in. If a child attends school in another Board’s area, providing the parents are in receipt of the appropriate benefits, free school meals shall be arranged by the Board in which you reside.
Are foster children entitled to Free School Meals?
If you are in receipt of Foster Care Allowance for the child you would not be entitled to free school meals.
Can I have a cash allowance in place of free school meals?
Can I be refunded for meals bought prior to my application form being processed?
Boards do not make refunds; free school meals can only commence when the appropriate Education Board has processed an application form.
How will the school know that my child/children are entitled to Free School Meals?
The Education Board will notify both you and the school(s) concerned regarding entitlement to free school meals.