Free School Meals and Uniform Allowance deadline looms; who can apply?

Families across Northern Ireland have been urged to apply for Free School Meals and Uniform Allowance before the deadline of July 31.

The Education Authority (EA) is appealing to those who may be eligible to apply promptly to ensure applications are processed in time for the new school year.

A spokesperson for the EA said that anyone who was in receipt of Free School Meals and Uniform Allowance in previous years must apply again for all children for whom they have parental responsibility and who are attending full time school or regional / further education college.

Who is eligible?

The Education Authority is urging eligible families to apply for Free School Meals and Uniform Allowance before the deadline of July 31.

Families can apply for Free School Meals and Uniform Allowance if their child or children are in full-time education and if they are in receipt of one of the following benefits: 

Income Support

* Based Jobseeker’s Allowance

* Income Related Employment and Support Allowance

* Guarantee Element of State Pension Credit

* Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit with an annual taxable income of £16,190 or less

* Universal credit and have net household earnings not exceeding £14,000 per year.

Can anyone else apply?

Families can also apply if their child:

* Has a statement of special educational needs and is designated to require a special diet

* Is Asylum Seeker supported by the Home Office Asylum Support Assessment Team (ASAT).

There is no closing date for making an application for Free School Meals and Uniform Allowance, however the EA says to ensure applications are processed in time for the new school year, it is crucial that applications are received before July 31.

A spokespersoon added that applicants can apply at any time of the school year as circumstances can change and they may become entitled to the support.

“The message for anyone who might think they are eligible now is to apply without delay,” the spokesperson added.

To apply online go to www.eani.org.uk/fsm

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If applicants have any queries they can visit the website which has detailed information including FAQs. Anyone who has difficulty in completing an online application, can contact the EA via the dedicated helpdesk on 028 9041 8044 or by email at [email protected]