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Funding available to support families eligible for Free School Meals

By Kirsty Brown

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A £100 direct payment before Christmas is now available as part of a multi-million-pound winter fund to help those struggling financially during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Scottish Government has announced.

Those eligible for income-based Free School Meals will receive the £100 payment per eligible child direct to their bank account.

Aberdeenshire Council will process the payment the week commencing Monday, December 14, and the money will be in bank accounts by the end of the week.

Eligible families already in receipt of Free School meals, do not have to apply for this funding.

Please be aware if you have recently applied for income based free school meals and your application is still being processed, the payment will be made in early January 2021.

In addition to the £100 Scottish Government payment, each eligible child will also receive £52.20; £15.00 breakfast allowance to cover the school holiday period and £37.50 direct payment of free school meals to cover the holiday period.

Families who are on a low income but not currently in receipt of Free School Meals can check their entitlement by completing the online form 'Check entitlement and apply for Free School Meals'.

The current eligibility criteria is listed below but is included in the entitlement checker mentioned above.

Children are eligible for free school meals if their parents (or carers) are in receipt of a qualifying benefit.

The qualifying benefits and allowances are:

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
  • Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit)
  • Any income related element of Employment Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC), but not Working Tax Credit (WTC), and have an income of less than £16,105
  • Both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit with an income of less than £7,330
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit with a monthly take home pay of less than £610

If you are aged 16-18 years-old and receive any of the above qualifying benefits in your own right, you can apply for free school meals.

For more information you can visit www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/schools/schools-covid-19/free-school-meals-covid-19/

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