Marks and Spencer has confirmed it will add an extra £5 to every £15 free school meal voucher that is spent in store.
The boost will mean parents will be able to purchase £20 worth of food in total using the vouchers.
How to get £5 extra
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To claim the additional £5 on vouchers at the supermarket, parents need to exchange their eCode issued via the free school meals scheme to get an M&S gift card.
This gift card will then automatically be loaded with the extra money to be spent in store.
Once you have picked up your shopping, simply hand over your voucher at the checkout.
Marks and Spencer has also put together a breakfast and lunch planner to help give parents inspiration when preparing meals.
The planner, which is available online, features a variety of meals, including porridge muffins, superhero omelettes, tortilla pizzas and cheesy pasta.
Who is eligible for the vouchers?
The state-backed meal vouchers are issued to low income families to help pay for lunches while schools are closed due to the current national lockdown.
The vouchers are worth £15 per week per child, and can be spent at a range of major supermarkets, including Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Tesco, Aldi and Lidl.
Your child may be eligible to receive free school meal vouchers if you claim any of the following:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit - providing you are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190
- Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)
Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, are also eligible.
Your child may receive free school meal vouchers if you get any of the benefits listed above, and they are both younger than the compulsory age for starting school, and in full-time education.
Additionally, children who attend a government-funded school and are in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 can also claim the vouchers.
How do I apply?
If you are eligible and wish to apply to receive free school meal vouchers, you can do so via the government’s website.
Simply check the eligibility criteria and enter your postcode to apply via your local authority’s website.