Frequently asked questions

Page updated on: 16/03/2018

If you are applying for free school meals, you may find the following questions helpful:

No, you only need to apply online once but you must keep us updated of any changes by calling us on 01267 246521 or e-mail

When you apply online we are able to check your entitlement using the Eligibility Checking Service provided by the Department of Education.  You will be advised whether or not your claim is successful.  You will only be asked to provide documentary evidence if you eligibility cannot be confirmed.

You need to apply to Carmarthenshire County Council for your child’s /children’s free school meals.

Unfortunately we are unable to backdate entitlement to free school meals to cover unpaid school dinner money, or to refund dinner money paid prior to the date of a successful application.

No re-imbursement is given for school meals money unless there are “exceptional circumstances” – you will need to email / or send a letter to the free school meals office explaining the “exceptional circumstances”.

Local authorities do no set the qualifying criteria for free school meals and we are unable to waive them.  Any change to the criteria is a matter for central, not local government, so your Member of Parliament is the appropriate person to contact about this issue.

For every child that is entitled to free school meals the school receives extra funding from the Welsh Government to enhance provision and improve progress and outcomes for children.  This is called the Pupil Premium Grant.  Your child can still bring a packed lunch if they prefer but by applying through the free school meal Portal you ensure their school receives this grant.

We will notify the schools therefore you do no need to do anything.  Secondary Schools have a cashless catering system so the money will be credited to your child/children’s account each morning, any remaining monies are cleared at the end of the day. (Ysgol Dyffryn Taf is not run by the CCC Catering Service so they have their own arrangements in place).

Contact the school office or contact the free school meals office to inform the school on your behalf.

Unfortunately there is no free school meals eligibility if either partner is entitled to Working Tax Credit.

The upper annual income threshold of £16,190 applies to families who receive Child Tax Credit but have no entitlement to Working Tax Credit.

Where a parent/carer is entitled to Working Tax Credit during a 4-week “run on” period immediately after their employment ends or they qualify for Working Tax Credit, then they are eligible to claim free school meals for that 4-week period.

Unfortunately as we are unable to confirm eligibility using the Eligibility Checking Service you will need to submit a hard copy of your Tax Credit Decision Notice.

Once the 4-week temporary entitlement period has expired we will require proof that one of the other qualifying benefits listed on the webpage has been awarded.

As the child’s / children’s carer you are eligible to claim free school meals for them if you are in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits.  Either parent is also eligible to claim for free school meals for the child/children who are living with you providing they claim a qualifying benefit.

If it is permanent and you will be getting Child Benefit etc., you can apply in your own right.  If it is temporary, the claim can stay as it is but it must be noted by the free school meals office so you will need to contact us.

We cancel free school meals on the following Friday from when work started, as Tax Credits will be backdated to the day you started work.

Students are in most cases eligible as they are receiving Child Tax Credit Only, but you will need to apply as normal.

If they’re over 16, they are not eligible and will need to apply for an “Educational Maintenance Allowance” instead.  If they’re under 16, you need to contact the free school meals office for further details.

Foster Carers are unable to claim for free school meals if they are in receipt of the full fostering Allowance.

Special Guardianship Orders are eligible but you need to apply in your own right. If you receive a Kinship payment you are not eligible.

A parent may not yet have benefits in their name, or proof etc. due to an emergency situation.  Women’s Aid will need to confirm the circumstances in writing by email and then the free school meal provision can be granted provisionally until eligibility can be confirmed.  However you will still need to apply.

Applications are normally processed within 5 working days.  If an email address was supplied, a response would have been emailed (which may have gone in your “spam” folder), you will need to check with the free school meals office for the reason why you have not heard anything.

We can email a copy of your free school meals confirmation letter to you as proof.

We can make a note of the transfer but you could advise us during the summer school holidays to ensure our records are updated correctly.

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Education & Schools