The Government is simplifying the welfare system by gradually replacing a number of income-related benefits with Universal Credit. This means that a number of the legacy benefits that previously entitled families to free school meals are being phased out and will cease to exist.
The Department has now made amendments to the eligibility criteria for free school meals to reflect the introduction of Universal Credit. These new criteria will come into force on 1 April 2018.
From 1 April 2018, all existing free school meals claimants will continue to receive free school meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out. This will apply even if their earnings rise above the new threshold during that time. In addition, any child gaining eligibility for free school meals after 1 April 2018 will be protected against losing free school meals during the Universal Credit rollout period. The Universal Credit roll out is currently expected to complete in March 2022.
Parents or guardians can access guidance notes and the application form at this link: http://www.wokingham.gov.uk/schools-and-education/school-information-and-services/free- school-meals-and-the-pupil-premium/