Parents only have ONE WEEK left to apply for £90 free school meal vouchers

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PARENTS only have one week left to apply for free school meals for their kids over the summer worth £90.

Schools have to submit claims at least seven days before they close, meaning parents will have to make sure they’re signed up now.

Most schools shut for summer during the week of July 20, so orders will likely need to be placed by July 13.

If you’ve yet to sign up to the scheme, it means you have just a few days left to register.

Parents can apply through their child’s school or local council – check below for more information.

The free school meals initiative was due to end when schools close, but the government was forced to U-turn on this after a campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford.

The Manchester United player argued that the government should carry on supporting families over summer, as it had continued providing free meals over the Easter and half-term breaks because of the coronavirus crisis.

The Department for Education (DfE) doesn’t usually provide free meals for children over holidays.

But the U-turn now means 1.3million eligible pupils will now qualify for a £90 voucher to cover the six-week holiday period.

This is equivalent to £15 a week, which is the same amount offered during the pandemic.

Or if your child’s summer holiday lasts seven full weeks, instead of six, schools will be able to increase the voucher to £105.

The free school meals scheme sees families receive supermarket vouchers while schools are shut because of coronavirus.

Parents or carers can then spend the vouchers in Aldi, Asda, McColl’s, Morrisons, M&S Food, Sainsbury’s, Tesco or Waitrose.

Your child should be entitled to free school meal vouchers over the summer if they usually receive free school meals during term-time.

Children usually qualify for free school meals if their parents get income-related benefits – this can include Universal Credit, income support, jobseeker’s allowance, and employment and support allowance.

You can check if you’re entitled by using the Gov.uk website.

Kids may also qualify if they or their parents are receiving support under the Immigration and Asylum Act or get child tax credit.

Children of all ages, so from nursery age through to sixth form, may be eligible.

However, the rules vary slightly between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland because the nations set their own rules.

All pupils in reception and years one and two, regardless of income, can get free school meals during term time in government-funded schools in England and Scotland.

For schools in England, you can use the Gov.uk website to see how to apply for free meals over the summer.

Simply enter your postcode and the website will bring up the correct local authority.

How you apply will then depend on where you live.

For example, you can either get a form to fill in from your school, call your local council or fill in an online form.

Schools in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will have different processes in place.

Families have one month to check and renew tax credits or benefits may stop.

On benefits? If you don’t tell the Jobcentre you’ve been furloughed you could miss out on cash.

Benefits should rise to help millions struggling due to coronavirus, MPs say.

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