Free school meals - ELB (WELB)- Please can anyone help?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in N. Ireland
7 replies 1.8K views
rover25rover25 Forumite
387 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in N. Ireland
Hi, my sister is a single parent who works 20 hrs per week. She receives no child mantaince. Father is thought to be in Canada or Australia last time she heard.
She receives working tax credits and her income is well below £16,190. She pays her own rent and supports herself and her son on her 20hr per wk job. When she applied for free school meals/uniform grant (her son started grammar school this September), her application was refused. I have been telling her to reapply and get them to re-assess her again. She knows of 2 other pupils in his class who are getting free school meals (one with a 2 parent family , granted I think the dad as lost his job and the other where the single mother is working full time hrs)
However when I went onto the board website (welb) I found this:
Free school meals /clothing grant can be awarded if you are currently in receipt of:
Working Tax Credit and have an annual taxable income which does not exceed £16,190
*(Please note - only those pupils in full-time Nursery, Primary and Special Schools who are born on or after 2 July 2002 will be eligible to apply under this criteria for the 2010/2011 year);

Can anyone clarify what the * means. Does this mean that only children who are 8 and under are able to claim for the grant based on this criteria? Why is that? What if there is a child who is 9 but parent is in the same position as the 8 years and younger? My sister's child is 11. What do they do, if this is the only criteria their parent meets?

Please can anyone shed some light on this for me. It just seems so unfair.


  • kyralkyral Forumite
    167 Posts
    Im a single parent of two working 16hrs a week with little or no support from the father and Im not eligible for free meals either.

    Once I started work free meals stopped and I can definately tell you that I earn nowhere near 16k.
  • I would phone the WELB and ask for their Meals and Allowance branch. They should be able to advise.
  • We were in this position a few years ago )- not a single parent but hubby medically retired from work, no benefits apart from DLA (lower rate) and carers allowance and because I worked more than 16hrs a week (on a VERY low paid job) we weren't entitled to free school meals.

    I phoned because I couldn't believe what I was seeing and the 1st question I was asked was how many hours I worked - didn't want to know about income - it was the hours worked:mad:

    Made me see why some people wouldn't want to work!!
  • I don,t know if it's the same in England but in Scotland you receive free school meals if your income is under the taxable amount which is around £6400. For the school clothing grant you can be earning a lot more and still receive it. Last year I was entitled to the clothing grant but not the school meals.
  • I think under the criteria that you sister meets this is not available for post primary children in 2010/11 year. See below from Dept of Education NI website.

    Note 2: From the start of the 2010/11 school year the eligibility criteria for free school meals will be extended to include full-time nursery and primary school children whose parents are in receipt of Working Tax Credit and have an annual taxable income which does not exceed £16,190 (in 2010/11). The new criterion will be introduced on a phased basis with nursery, Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 pupils eligible from September 2010.

    I would advise that she should contact WELB to see why refused and they can advise.

    Hope this helps.
  • Hi I would ring and ask them to look at it again, or go to the CAB for help too. Many people who were in receipt of income support always got free meals and uniform grant, so hope you are able to get help. I know how hard it is to make ends meet while doing it alone. Best wishes Margaret
    Do a little kindness every day.;)
    4.5K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    We have just qualified for free school meals after OH being made redundant. Basically if you get WTC you don't qualify, however the new rules as quoted above mean those on WTC will start to qualify from 2011, but only for nursery and younger primary kids.

    ali x
    "Overthinking every little thing
    Acknowledge the bell you cant unring"

This discussion has been closed.
Latest MSE News and Guides

Tesco launches its first ever...

...checkout-free supermarket store

MSE News

25+ ways to stop scams

Plus what to do if you're a victim

MSE Guides

Beauty Advent calendar round-up

The Body Shop, Holland & Barrett etc

MSE Deals