Cumbria County Council (CCC) have recently issued updated information regarding free school meals eligibility and the implications of the changes. Here is the information they have shared with us:

From 1 April 2018, the government are introducing a Universal Credit earning threshold of £7,400 per year for free school meal eligibility.

Children who are eligible for free school meals by 1 April 2018 will continue to receive them until at least 2022, without the need for further eligibility checks while Universal Credit is rolled out across the country.

All children who currently receive free school meals are not affected and do not need to apply again. They will continue to receive free school meals and clothing vouchers until at least 31 March 2022.

To ensure children continue to receive clothing grants it is crucial that all parents update any change of personal details, i.e. address / name / parent / guardian during this period to March 2022. Failure to do so may result in delays in receiving clothing grants.

Personal details can be updated online or contact the Free School Meal Service by calling 01228 606060.

The CCC team say that as you will appreciate, the introduction of universal credit is likely to be a very busy period for us processing a high volume of applications.

For new applications, we would encourage parents/guardians to apply online, https://emsonline.cumbria.gov.uk/CitizenPortal_LIVE/Account/Login?ReturnUrl=%2fCitizenPortal_LIVE and reminding them of the need to check the eligibility criteria before submitting an online application. This will assist us to avoid disappointment and unnecessary applications.

Parents can check their eligibility on our website. http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/childrensservices/schoolsandlearning/freeschoolmeals.asp

Parents/guardians, if you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact the Cumbria County Council team on 01228 606060.