FSM - Free School Meals

This page provides information on proving eligibility for free school meals. If you can provide evidence that you are eligible for free school meals, Up Learn is free.

If you can provide proof of ANY SINGLE ONE of the below, then you are eligible.

Please send proof to us via the green chat button in the bottom right corner of the website or via email to [email protected].

The following types of proof are acceptable:

Income Support

  • We will need to see a letter from Jobcentre Plus, dated within the last 8 weeks stating that the person is currently in receipt of Income Support.
  • The letter is normally 2 - 4 pages long and we need to see all pages.

Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

  • There are 2 different types of Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-based and contribution based. Only those receiving an amount of income-based JSA are eligible for free school meals. 
  • The evidence we need to check is a 4 page letter from Jobcentre Plus, dated within the last 8 weeks. On page 4 of the letter, it will state 'This is what we call income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance' or 'This is what we call contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance’. Remember, only those on income-based JSA are entitled to free meals. If they do not provide all 4 pages of the letter then we cannot authorise free school meals.

Please note, the Jobseeker’s Attendance Card cannot be used as proof because it does not specify that the JSA is income-basedContribution-based JSA is not a qualifying free school meals benefit.

Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

  • As with Jobseeker’s Allowance there are 2 different types of Employment and Support Allowance, income-related and contributory related.  Only those receiving an amount of income-related ESA are eligible for free school meals.
  • As with JSA a four page letter from Jobcentre Plus dated within the last 8 weeks is required.  We need to see all pages of the letter in order to ensure they are receiving the income-related amount.

Child Tax Credit

  • All pages of the most recent Tax Credit award notice (TC602) from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, relating to the current financial year will be required. The Tax Credit Award notice is usually 6-8 pages long.
  • You will need to check that they receive Child Tax Credit (usually on page 1 and 4), their income is below the £16,190 threshold (usually on page 3) and that there is no ongoing entitlement to Working Tax Credit (usually on page 4).
  • If two people are on the same Tax Credit Award (joint claim) then income levels and tax credit elements will be applicable to both claimants, including Working Tax Credit.
  • Anyone who receives over £16,190 as assessed for the most recent financial year on their Award does not qualify for free school meals.
  • Anyone entitled to Working Tax Credit does not qualify for free school meals, regardless of their income.

If the applicant has mislaid their Tax Credit award or wishes to update any of their details with HMRC they can phone the Helpline on 0345 300 3900.

Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

  • We will need to see a recent letter from the UK Borders Agency confirming the claimant is entitled to support. The claimant will not have an NI number as they will not be registered with one as of yet. Instead they will have a 9 digit NASS (National Asylum Seeker’s Service) number. 
  • We will need the NASS number, date of birth and surname of claimant in order to carry out an eligibility check.

Asylum seekers do not normally have a National Insurance number until their asylum application has been processed. Once they have a National Insurance number, their application will need to be re-assessed.

Guarantee element of State Pension Credit

  • We will need to see a letter from Department of Work and Pensions (usually 4-6 pages long) dated within the last 3 months stating that the claimant is in receipt of the Guarantee element. 

Pension Credit payment books cannot be accepted as proof of eligibility because they do not specify the type of Pension Credit the person is receiving.

Forms stamped by the Pension Service cannot be accepted as proof of eligibility because they do not specify that the person receives the guarantee credit element of Pension Credit.

Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

  • If a person who was entitled to Working Tax Credit has recently become unemployed then they will continue to receive the Working Tax for 4 weeks after their employment has ceased.
  • In this instance they will be entitled to free school meals for a 4 week period. Paper proof can be provided by supplying their latest Tax Credit award notice (TC602) and a letter from their most recent employer stating that their employment has terminated and what date it was terminated on.