Food support for families in Somerset
Because of the current situation with Coronavirus, we recommend all applications are now sent electronically by completing the online application form below. We aim to process applications within 10 working days, but if applicants don’t agree for the outcome to be emailed to them, it will take longer for letters to be sent notifying them of the outcome – we have very limited access to the office. Because of this, please do not post applications.
Children who attend a Somerset County Council school, whose parents or carers receive certain benefits may be entitled to free school meals.
Only the benefits listed here – and no other benefits – qualify you for free school meals for your children.
These are the benefits.
- Universal Credit with an annual household income of less than £7,400 after tax
- Income Support (IS)
- Employment and Support Allowance (Income related) – not Contribution related
- Income-based Job Seekers Allowance (IBJSA) – not Contribution based
- Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit.
- Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Child Tax Credit with an annual taxable income (as assessed by HMRC) of less than £16,190, as long as the family is not also in receipt of Working Tax Credit.
If you have recently become unemployed, but are still receiving Working Tax Credits, you may be entitled to free school meals.
During the coronavirus outbreak, the Government are temporarily extending free school meal eligibility to include children of families who have no recourse to public funds. Therefore, children will also be eligible for free school meals if their legal guardians’ household income is £28,200 or below and they meet one of the following criteria:
- they are a Zambrano Carer
- they have the right to remain in the UK under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and are subject to no recourse to public funds
- they are supported under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 (Children in Need)
They may also be eligible if they are supported under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
If you meet this additional criteria, complete the Free School Meals Application Form – Covid-19 Additional Criteria and send it in with the appropriate evidence.
Children must be in school all day and they will be provided with a meal at lunchtime which is paid for by the school.
It is the responsibility of the parents or carers to register their entitlement and request free school meals for their children.
Children in pre-school or nursery (known as childcare providers) do not qualify for a free meal until they start school, but applications will be processed so that when your child starts school, you will already be notified whether they qualify for a free school meal or not.
We will only process applications for schools that subscribe to the Free School Meals service. All schools in Somerset, except King Arthur’s School, Wincanton and The Mendip School, Prestleigh, Shepton Mallet, subscribe. If your child attends either of their schools, please contact the school directly to apply for free school meals.
Or you can print out a copy of the Application form for free meals at school, fill it in and take the completed form to your child’s school, or send it to – Entitlements Team, County Hall, Taunton, TA1 4DY.
You do not need to send evidence with this application. If we need evidence later, we will ask you for it.
What happens next
We will check your eligibility, let you know and, if you are eligible, tell you how to start receiving free school meals – usually within 10 working days.
If your child is entitled to a free school meal, but requires a special medical diet, we can arrange for an appropriate meal to be provided. You must ask your doctor to write a letter explaining which foods must be avoided.
Once free school meals have been awarded to a child, they will remain in place for that child until at least March 2022 – whether your circumstances change or not – when it will be reviewed in line with the latest government requirements.
Please contact us if you have any questions.
Universal Infant Free School Meals
Every child in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 is entitled to a Universal Infant Free School Meal. Each school is responsible for providing this and they may ask you to fill in an application form to show that you require a meal for your child or children. Therefore, please contact your school to discuss arranging a meal, or fill in the Universal Infant Free School Meal application form and hand it in to your child’s school.