Families in County Durham could save up to £350 a year by registering their child for free school meals.
Durham County Council is urging parents and carers to check whether their child is eligible to benefit from the scheme.
Children may qualify for free school meals if their parents or carers receive any of the following benefits or tax credits:
Income Support
Pension Credit (guarantee element)
Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Child Tax Credit and have a gross annual household income of no more than £16,190
Eligible Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
Universal Credit
Chris Graham, Durham County Council welfare rights service team leader, said: “It is important that families with school-age children take up the opportunity for free school meals if they are eligible.
“School meals help to provide children with a healthy, balanced diet and staying at school at lunchtime gives children the chance to sit together and develop their social skills.
“And, of course, it can save parents valuable time and money because they don’t have to pay for meals or prepare expensive packed lunches.”
Families whose Tax Credit award includes any amount of Working Tax Credits will not be eligible for free school meals for their children.
Application forms for free school meals are available from all schools or can be downloaded at www.durham.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals
Completed forms should be returned to your child’s school with proof of your entitlement to benefits.
For more information, contact the free school meals team on 03000 268 002 or 03000 268 003.
If you are unsure which benefits you receive or you have a benefits query or need advice about benefits, contact Durham County Council’s welfare rights service on 03000 268 968 (Monday to Friday, 9am to noon) or email welfare.rights@durham.gov.uk