Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice
Free school meals
*Updated 31 July 2020*
The voucher payment made on Friday 31 July 2020 (covering the following two weeks in full) will be the last voucher payment.
A £30 PayPoint voucher is sent directly to parents/carers of children who are entitled to free school meals on a fortnightly basis using the mobile phone numbers or email addresses we already hold for you. If we don't have your number or email we will post the vouchers to you. Contact details can be updated using the Free school meals enquiry form.
We are aware of fraudulent emails circulating asking for bank details of those with children entitled to free school meals. Please be aware that we do not require your bank details, and we will not ask you for these.
Scottish Government guidelines suggest that payments should reflect what councils charge for school lunches. As the cost of a school lunch in South Lanarkshire is £1.70, the £30 fortnightly payment considerably exceeds that. The payment is also in line with the UK Government’s £15 a week vouchers system.
Payments will be made only to those entitled to means-tested free school meals. For more information on eligibility see the Free school meals page. This includes children in Primaries 1 to 3, who will be assessed for free school meal entitlement. Again, this is in line with Scottish Government guidelines.
Free school meal vouchers will continue to be paid during the school summer holiday break.
How to redeem your voucher
The payment vouchers can be redeemed for cash at any PayPoint outlet, of which there are more than 100 across South Lanarkshire. Parents/carers can then purchase food and drink for children, bearing in mind current advice on limiting excursions and social distancing.
For details of PayPoint outlets see the PayPoint website. If you experience problems cashing in your voucher at any particular PayPoint retailer, PayPoint have set up a dedicated helpline on 0330 400 0002 to assist in resolving such issues.
For all other enquiries, please use the Free school meals enquiry form.
Frequently asked questions
Q. Are all children in P1-3 eligible for free school meals?
A. No. In accordance with Scottish Government guidelines, payments will only be made to those entitled to means-tested free school meals. This includes children in P1-3, who will be assessed for free school meals entitlement. For more information on eligibility see the Free school meals page.
Q. I think I’m eligible for a free school meals payment, but I haven’t received a payment voucher.
A. Your payment may have been made by email. Please check your email inbox, and also check your junk and spam email inboxes. If you still can’t see a voucher and think you qualify for a payment, please use the Free school meals enquiry form to ensure your contact details are up-to-date.
Q. Can I cash my PayPoint payment voucher online?
A. No. PayPoint payment vouchers can only be redeemed from a PayPoint outlet. For details of PayPoint outlets, please see the PayPoint website.
Q. Are early years children (pre-school children) eligible for a free school meals payment?
A. No. Nursery children are not entitled to free school meals. The current statutory entitlement for nursery provision is 600 hours per year and does not include the provision of food.
Q. How long do I have to redeem (cash) my PayPoint voucher?
A. The PayPoint voucher expires one month from the date of issue.
Q. I am having problems cashing in my vouchers - what should I do?
A. You should phone the dedicated PayPoint helpline on 0330 400 0002.
Q. Will my vouchers be backdated?
A. Entitlement to free school meals starts on the date you are awarded Universal Credit so we will only authorise vouchers once your Universal Credit award is processed. Because UC is paid four weeks in arrears we have paid vouchers retrospectively. Please note that payments are not backdated to the date you applied for UC.
Q. Will vouchers be paid during the school summer holidays?
A. Yes, vouchers will continue to be paid over the school summer break.
Q. What do I do if the frequently asked questions do not answer my query?
A. Please use the Free school meals enquiry form to advise us of your query.
We will update the FAQs regularly as we can't answer each question individually on social media.
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