About education benefits (free school meals and secondary-school clothing grants)
The Benefits Service deals with these two education benefits for school pupils, to help families who are on a low income.
These benefits are for children who live in Manchester, even if they go to school in another area. Contact your local council for education benefits if you live outside Manchester, even if your child goes to a Manchester school. Your child must be at school, not at a day nursery or children's centre.
Education benefits are not usually available for children who go to independent (private) schools.
Free school meals are for:
- school pupils up to the age of 16; and
- pupils who go to a school sixth form.
Children who are 16 and over can't get free school meals if:
- they are on a post-16 further-education course linked to a further-education college (such as the Manchester College) even if they go to a school site; or
- they go to a further-education college or a sixth-form college.
If you are a school, please see information for schools about free school meals.
Secondary-school clothing grants are:
- for children in Year 7 or Year 10 at secondary school, even if they don't have to wear a uniform.
- not meant to cover the full cost of school clothing - the grant just helps towards it.
- only paid once for Year 7 and once for Year 10. We don't pay a second grant if a child changes secondary school during the year.
The grant for 2012/13 is £80 for a year 7 child and £41 for a year 10 child.
If you claim and are entitled to a grant, we will pay a full year's grant once we have dealt with your claim, if your child is in Year 7 or 10. If you are already claiming from us, we will pay your grant during the school summer holidays before your child starts Year 7 or Year 10.
Who can get free school meals and secondary-school clothing grants?
You can claim free school meals and a secondary school clothing grant for a child who lives with you and who you are responsible for (for example, you receive Child Benefit for them) as long as you get one of these qualifying incomes:
- Income Support; or
- income-based Jobseeker's Allowance; or
- Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit); or
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance; or
- Child Tax Credit (CTC) as long as you are not getting an amount for childcare paid with your CTC, or getting Working Tax Credit. HM Revenue & Customs must also have worked out your household income as £16,190 a year or less. This income limit will be used until April 2013 but may go up in future years.
You can also get free school meals, but not a secondary school clothing grant, if you are entitled to a Working Tax Credit 'run-on' payment for four weeks after stopping work or reducing working hours to under 16 hours a week.
You can also claim if you are an asylum seeker.
See how to claim education benefits.
Download our leaflet 'Education Benefits'.