You can claim free school meals for a child who lives with you and who you are responsible for.
Your claim will be automatically processed if you receive Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support and get any of the qualifying benefits.
Your child is eligible for Free School Meals if you get one or more of the following benefits:
- Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods)
- Income Support
- Income based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income related Employment Support Allowance
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit as long as you have a yearly household income of less than £16,190 (as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs) and do not get Working Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit run- on (paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
In addition, the following pupils will be protected against losing their free school meals as follows;
- From 1 April 2018, all existing free school meals claimants will continue to receive free school meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out. This will apply even if their earnings rise above the new threshold during that time
- In addition, any child gaining eligibility for free school meals after 1 April 2018 will be protected against losing free school meals during the Universal Credit rollout period
- Once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, any existing claimants that no longer meet the eligibility criteria at that point (because they are earning above the threshold or are no longer in receipt of Universal Credit) will continue to receive free school meals until the end of their current phase of education (i.e. primary or secondary)
Infant free school meals
If your child attends a state funded infant school and is in Key Stage 1 (reception, year 1 or year 2), they are entitled to ‘universal infant free school meals’ regardless of your income. Please contact your child’s school to tell them you would like to have ‘universal infant free school meals’.
Parents of infants who receive the above qualifying benefits
You can apply for free school meals if you think you might be entitled, because your school gets up to £1,320 additional funding (Pupil Premium) to support your child’s education and can help to buy new equipment and resources. This money is only paid if you apply for free school meals and are confirmed to be entitled.
If your claim is successful, the school will be notified that your child can have free school meals.
Change in circumstances
Contact us if your circumstances change. For example, if you no longer receive benefits, move house or change school, as this may affect your right to claim.