Under the current criteria, children who receive, or whose parents receive, one or more of the following support payments are eligible to receive free school meals (FSM), 2-year-old funding (EY) and early year’s pupil premium (EYPP).
• Income Support (IS).
• Income Based Jobseekers Allowance (IBJSA).
• Income-related employment and support allowance (IRESA).
• Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income, as assessed by HMRC, which does not exceed £16,190 (FSM and EYPP only).
• Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit.
• Where a parent is entitled to Working Tax Credit run-on (the payment someone receives for a further four weeks after stopping qualifying for Working Tax Credit).
• Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. (NASS)
• Working Tax Credit (eligible for 2-year-old funding only) and have an annual income, as assessed by HMRC, which does not exceed £16,190.
• Disability Living Allowance (eligible for 2-year-old funding but only if the child is the recipient).
• Universal Credit.
If you have received a ‘Not Found’ response, but believe the claimant to be eligible, you must first ask the claimant to provide paper proof of eligibility. If satisfied that the claimant is in receipt of an eligible benefit based on the documentary evidence, you can accept them as eligible.
The ECS uses DWP data to make the check; and if somehow incorrect a not found result will occur. Most likely this will have been caused by the claimant receiving a payment made up of both JSA income and contribution benefits. Often the ECS is unable to read the difference and so comes back as not being able to confirm.
The HMRC will only respond to five questions relating to the administration of FSM. These are as follows:
• Is there a claim for Claimant - Yes or No response only
• Is their total income below £16,190 - Yes or No response only
• The name of the town in which they live
• Is Working Tax Credit in payment - Yes or No response only
• Is this in relation to the four week run on - Yes or No response only
If the HMRC priority line member of staff is unclear about the procedure, please refer them to follow procedure TC00321.
On completion of your checks should you consider that there is still insufficient evidence to award eligibility, it is then the claimants responsibility to contact the relevant organisation and discuss.
The information above is subject to change and to the best of our knowledge was correct on 19 October 2017.