What is the grant and who is eligible?
Families with children in receipt of free school meals due to reasons of low income are eligible for a £100 per child COVID hardship grant from the Scottish Government. Eligible families will receive the Scottish Government grant through Aberdeen City Council – we are administering the grant on behalf of the Scottish Government.
The payment is per child not per household.
P1-3 pupils receiving free school meals due to universal provision, not due to low income, are not eligible.
P1 to P3 pupils where the family meet the benefit criteria for the Free Schools Meals will receive the grant and should apply for FSM if they have not already. We are using the information on who is currently in receipt of free school meals to verify entitlement, so families should apply for Free School Meals where they have not.
What can the grant be used for?
There are no restrictions on how families choose to spend the additional payment and it is anticipated that common uses may include paying for Christmas presents, food, fuel, and other essentials.
How to apply?
Eligible families will be contacted by Aberdeen City Council via GroupCall for how to apply. If you are eligible and received an email or text message by the morning of Thursday 10th December or need support applying, please get in touch with your school. You can also apply online using the unique code you have received through your GroupCall email or text message.
Who is eligible for free school meals due to low income?
Families with children in receipt of free school meals due to reasons of low income are eligible for the £100 per child COVID hardship grants. Eligibility for Free School Meals based on low income, is where the household is in receipt of:
- Income Support
- Income-based Job Seekers’ Allowance
- Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
- Child Tax Credit, but not Working Tax Credit, with an income of less than £16,105
- Both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit with an income of up to £7,330
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Universal Credit with a monthly earned income from your employer of not more than £610
- Universal Credit, with a single parent/carer working less than 16 hours per week with an annual earned income from employment of less than £16,105
- Universal Credit, with both parents/carers working less than 24 hours per week with an annual earned income from employment of less than £16,105
A child might still get a free lunch in school if their household experience financial hardship.
This could be because:
- Their immigration status means they cannot get help from the government
- They're still waiting on their first Universal Credit notice
Over the Christmas period, Free School Meal vouchers, with a value of £30 per child, will be provided where families meet the Free School Meals eligibility criteria. P1 to P3 pupils will be provided with Free School Meal Vouchers where the parents/carers are entitled due to the benefits they receive.
Who will not get the payment?
You'll not get the payment if your child:
gets universal free school meals in primary 1 to 3 and you do not meet the eligibility criteria
is in early learning and childcare (nursery)
does not go to a council school
is home educated
When will new free school meals applications be processed?
Any new free school meal applications that are received and approved by end of the day 10 December will be sent information on the afternoon of Friday 11th December to apply for the £100 Hardship Grant.
Any new free school meal applications that are received and approved on 14th December or 15th December, will be sent information on the day of approval to apply for the £100 Hardship Grant.
Any new free school meal applications that are received and approved on 16th, 17th or 18th December, will be sent details to apply for the £100 Hardship Grant late on Friday 18th December and payments will be made in January.
When do I get the grant?
The payment for the £100 per child COVID hardship grant are to be made prior to Christmas for those who were in receipt of Free School Meals due to low income on 30 November 2020, and parents should apply by 5pm on Wednesday 16 December to get the money before Christmas Day.
Parents who apply after Wednesday 16 December and for eligible children newly applying for free school meals up until the end of the winter term, the money will be given to them in the second week of January,
How do I get the money?
A cash payment by bank transfer is preferable and alternative methods would be used where there is not a bank account or in other circumstances, such as debt, which would mean that a payment into a bank account would not achieve the aims of payment. You can ask for an alternative payment when you apply.
Frequently asked questions