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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit administration  →  Thread

UC and Free School Meals

JPCHC
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Cardinal Hume Centre - Welfare Rights

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Our Local Authority refused my client’s Free School Meals application as he hadn’t been able to prove his entitlement.  This was because his UC payment statement didn’t include a section on take home pay! 

I’ve tried to explain to them that this is because he’s not working, but now I see it’s coming from this guidance which went to LAs which says that a UC award statement will show claimants take home pay and this section will be shown whether the claimant has earnings or not. 

This clearly isn’t true, is it?!  Any ideas how to get this sorted? I emailed the contact on the bulletin but he just re-directed me to the Council but it’s their guidance which is wrong. ARGH


Proof of benefit
6. The LA use the government benefits database to check entitlement for free school meals.
7. If the government benefits database shows that the claimant is not entitled, the claimant may need to provide further proof of their entitlement so that the LA can check their claim again.
8. The claimant can do this by providing the LA with a copy of their most recent UC award statement (paper version or screenshot). The information can be found in the ‘What we take off (deductions)’ section of the statement. This will show the claimants take home pay. This section is shown whether the claimant has earnings or not.
9. Additional information can be found in the claimants account, in the Help and Support section under the heading, ‘Other support you may be able to get’. At the side of this heading there is a + symbol that expands to give details of extra support, for example, Free School Meals and prescriptions. If they bring their device in, rather than a print out, that would help.
10. If you have any queries regarding the content of this article you can email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Ianb
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Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

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JPCHC - 09 October 2019 03:52 PM

.... The claimant can do this by providing the LA with a copy of their most recent UC award statement (paper version or screenshot). The information can be found in the ‘What we take off (deductions)’ section of the statement. This will show the claimants take home pay. This section is shown whether the claimant has earnings or not.

This reads to me that the ‘What we take off (deductions)’ section of the statement will always be shown regardless of whether the claimant has earnings or not. That’s not the same as saying the ‘What we take off (deductions)’ section of the statement will always have an entry for earnings (even if it is NIL).

JPCHC
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Cardinal Hume Centre - Welfare Rights

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I did wonder if that’s how it should be read, but if it’s at all ambiguous then you’re going to have LAs like ours wrongly refusing applications.  It’s so frustrating.  It’s taken multiple calls and emails to convince our LA on one case! And then when I saw this bulletin yesterday I realised where the problem lay

Lisa Graham
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Thirteen Group

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LAs can make temporary FSM awards and should have done whilst the wording was looked into.

Daphne
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In the most recent statement I’ve got a copy of the take-home earnings are in the section ‘Examples of support you can get’ where it just says ‘your take-home pay for this universal credit period is £0.00’ - it then goes on to list some of the thresholds for various passporting althoughnot free school meals. However, the statement is for someone without children so I don’t know whether it would include that info if the claimant did have children?

JPCHC
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Cardinal Hume Centre - Welfare Rights

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Great - thanks Daphne! When you download the PDF (or print it) it does haven’t that statement which is why I’ve been so confused.  Now I know where to check! Cheers