Free school meals are available to children whose parents or guardians are currently receiving one of the following benefits:
- Child Tax Credit – where total annual income is also less than £16,190
- Income Support (with responsibility for children)
- Income Based Job Seekers' Allowance (with responsibility for children)
- Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Guarantee element of state Pension Credit
- Pupils who receive Income Support or income-based Job Seekers' Allowance in their own right are also eligible to receive free school meals
- Employment Support Allowance (Income Related) (ESA(IR)).
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credit ‘run-on’ the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
Young people who receive Income Support or income-based Job Seekers' Allowance in their own right are also entitled to receive free school meals.
Am I eligible if I'm claiming Working Tax Credits (with income less than £16,190)?
No, but if your circumstances change and you are no longer eligible for WTC, you must inform the Inland Revenue and free school meals may start depending on your individual circumstances.
To support your application you may need to provide one of the following as evidence.
- a copy of the page called "How your Income Support/Job Seeker's Allowance is worked out" from a recent letter. If you do not have this, please contact your local Benefits Agency
- your current Tax Award Notice. If you do not have this, contact the Inland Revenue Helpline on 0845 300 3900
- a copy of the Pension Credit Award notice (M1000) or Child Tax Credit Notice (TC602)
- asylum seekers need the NASS Reference Number to confirm entitlement
However, if you are currently in receipt of Housing/Council Tax Benefit then we will already have evidence of your income held on record, so there will be no need to supply the information unless we ask for it.
Applying for free school meals
If you would like to claim free school meals for your family you can complete the online form.
Apply for free school meals
Once you are entitled to a free school meal you could automatically qualify for a school clothing grant and/ or an allowance which is administered by secondary schools. For further information and application advice see our free school meals application form.
Application forms are also available directly from schools. Contact details for all our schools are available using our Find a School search facility.
Change of circumstances
If you are claiming free school meals and there is a change in your circumstances that may affect your entitlement, it is important that you tell us about it immediately.
Help us improve - don't include personal or financial information, e.g. your National Insurance number or credit card details.
Please provide a reason and any suggestions you feel are necessary in helping us improve the web page.