"There is a stereotype about people on benefits being lazy and relying on the government too much. Recently in the media I was shocked to hear that some want Free School Meals abolished. Perhaps those people need to walk a mile in our shoes before making statements like that. I am on Universal Credit not by choice but by necessity. If other saw little money you actually get on UC they would understand that its not something you one day wake up and decide 'Oh wouldnt it be wonderful to go onto UC'. I would love to work but its just not possible at this moment in time. Plus during CoVid there is not a lot of jobs to apply for especially in my field of expertise. The free school meals are important and we arent leaning on the government. Its a childs right to be provides with basic needs such as food. If the FSM were to be erased then more money should be awarded to the parents to provide lunches for them. At the moment CoVid has caused confusion in Northern Ireland. Forms have been lost. Mine being one of them and the Education Authority have refused to back date it lwaving me in arrears with my sons Primary school and my daughters secondary school. Now I cant send my children to FSM until the arrears have been cleared. Each year there have been no problems regards FSM applications but all of a sudden when Im moved to UC and during a pandemic there are massive holes in the system and flaws in the FSM application. Ending on a positive note, my daughters new school have very kindly cleared her arrears as they know it was wrong what the EA did. I was crying happy tears as it was over £100 and so close to Christmas I didnt know what to do. Today is the 1st day my daughter doesnt have to worry shes in arrears as shes only 11 and its no fair on her to feel shes missing out on something shes entitled too. Fingers crossed my sons school can work something out even if I have to pay in installments. "

Charlotte P
Nov 4, 2020

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