Could you get free school meals for your child?
From Monday 5th September, parents will have an extra new way to check whether their children qualify for free school meals.
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is launching this special new online service to help parents find out discreetly, quickly and easily if they would be eligible for free school meals for their children, and if so - to apply for this assistance
Free School Meal benefits are worth £10 to £15 per week and provide daily lunchtime hot meals for school-aged children.
You could be entitled if you are on any of the following benefits and have children of school age:
Income Support Income Based Job Seekers Allowance An Income-related employment and Support Allowance Support under Part V1 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 Child Tax Credit and an annual income less than £16,190 The Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit Working Tax Credit during the four-week period immediately after their employment finishes or after they start to work less than 16 hours per week.
This new online checking and application process is available on www.southend.gov.uk/FSM . The eligibility check needs just three pieces of information – a National Insurance or National Asylum Seeker number, date of birth, and first three letters of the surname.
However, parents can still apply directly through the school if they prefer.
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Executive Councillor for Children and Learning, Councillor Mark Flewitt said: “We have launched this new online service as a more accessible way for parents to find out if they would be eligible for this very important benefit, and to apply for it, without having to undertake a face to face application.
“We believe some parents may feel awkward discussing their financial situation with staff at their children’s school – which might deter them from applying for a benefit their child would be fully entitled to.
“We always want to do our best to ease the burden on those facing difficult economic circumstances.”
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