Free school meals

Do I qualify?

If we live in England, our child might be able to get free school meals if we get 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 (provided we’re 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 4 weeks after we stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit – if we apply on or after 1 April 2018 our household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits we get)

Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.

Also, if we get any of these benefits and our child is:

Children will be able to get free school meals until they finish the school (primary or secondary) they’re in on 31 March 2022.

Free school meals for infants

Children will be able to get free school meals if they’re in a government-funded school and in:

  • reception class
  • year 1
  • year 2

How do I apply?

To find out how to apply for free school meals visit your local authority’s website. The government’s website has a postcode finder which will match us to our local authority. If we need support with the application our child’s school should be able to help us.

If we live in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales there is a different process. Click on the relevant links to find out more information.