Free School Meals Payment for Pupils who are Self-isolating (not applicable during school holidays)

Financial support

Updated 23 September 2021

The following financial support is available for people and families on low incomes, who receive Council Tax Reduction or who have children entitled to free school meals – this does not include those entitled to universal provision of P1-4 meals:

  • Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payment
  • free school meals payment for pupils who are self-isolating (not applicable during school holidays)
  • free school meals payments during school holidays
  • Family Pandemic Payment
  • Low Income Pandemic Payment

Self-isolating

A one-off payment of £25 will be made to parents/carers towards the cost of lunch for pupils who are eligible for free school meals but can’t attend school because they are self-isolating as part of the Test and Protect Scheme.

This excludes those entitled to the universal provision of P1-4 meals.

This will begin for any new cases of pupils self-isolating from Monday 16 August 2021 onwards. Payments will not be backdated.

Your child will have been advised to self-isolate because they have:

  • tested positive for COVID-19
  • been identified by NHS Test and Protect as a close contact

This does not cover short periods of isolation, where pupils are waiting for a test result because:

  • they are displaying symptoms
  • another household member is displaying symptoms

Pupils eligible for free school meals will not be paid the one-off payment for these short periods of absence, however, if the pupil or household member tests positive and the pupil needs to isolate for a longer period, the payment will be made.

Although all P1-4 pupils receive a free school meal the payments will only be made if you get any of the following benefits and are therefore eligible for free school meals:

  • Income Support
  • Universal Credit (and your earned income is less than £625 as assessed by the Department for Work and Pensions in the assessment period immediately preceding the application for free school meals)
  • Job Seekers Allowance (income based)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income related)
  • Child Tax Credit only (with a gross annual income less than £16,105 as assessed by HM Revenues and Customs on your Tax Credit Award Notice TC602)
  • Working Tax Credit and Child Tax credit (with a gross annual income less than £7,500) as assessed by HM Revenues and Customs on your Tax Credit Award Notice (TC602)
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

The one-off payment of £25 will be paid within 6 working days after the 4th day of absence, provided you already receive free school meals. This means payment will be made towards the end of the self-isolation period.

The payment will be made direct into your bank account using bank details we already have from making the footwear and clothing grant payments earlier this year.

In exceptional circumstances we may pay by PayPoint voucher.

  1. Who is eligible to receive a free school meal payment while they are self-isolating?
    A. Any child or young person eligible for free school meals through means testing who attends primary or secondary school, (including ASN schools) and who needs to self-isolate, either because they have tested positive or they have been identified by NHS Test and Protect as a close contact of someone who has tested positive. Note this is for new cases of pupils self-isolating from Monday 16 August 2021.
  2. Are all children in P1-4 eligible for this payment if self-isolating?
    A. No. Although, all P1 to P4pupils automatically get a free school meal you will only get this payment if you get any of the benefits listed above. For more information on eligibility see the Free school mealspage.
  3. Does this payment include nursery children?
    A. No, nursery children are not legally entitled to free school meals. The current statutory entitlement is 600 hours per year and does not include providing food.
  4. Do I need to apply for this payment?
    A.No. The payment will be made direct into your bank account using bank details we already have from making the footwear and clothing grant payments earlier this year.  In exceptional circumstances we may pay by PayPoint voucher.
  5. When will I receive the payment?
    A. We will aim to pay you within 6 working days after the 4th day of absence from school. This means payment will be made towards the end of the self-isolation period.
  6. Do I need to show the school evidence of the request to self-isolate to receive this payment?
    A. You may be asked to give the school proof from NHS Test and Protect.
  7. Is there any other support available during this difficult time?
    A. Yes, our Community Wellbeing line can give you help and support. You can phone them on 0303 123 1009 but information on other help available is on the How to get help page.
  8. I believe I should have received this payment but haven’t. Who should I contact?
    A. You should use our enquiry form.

If you have any other questions about free school meal payments while self-isolating use our enquiry form.