Free school meals
Is my child eligible for free school meals?
Entitlement to Free School Meals are processed as part of Housing Benefit/Council Tax Support claims by the Benefits Service. Free School Meals are a statutory benefit. Applying for a free school meal could raise up to an extra £1320 per annum for six years for your child’s school (funded by central government). This can help to fund valuable teaching and learning support for your school (and is still paid to the school even if your entitlement ceases). All children in Reception to Year 2 automatically receive a free school meal. However, if your family also meets the eligibility criteria to enable a free school meal to be awarded (see below), it is important to make an application in order that your child's school can receive this pupil premium.
The Government does not allow us to recognise any other benefit other than those mentioned below. If you are not sure, please contact us.
Free school meals are available to children of families who are in receipt of:
- Income Support
- Jobseekers Allowance (income based)
- Employment and Support Allowance (income based)
- Guarantee Credit (the Guarantee element of State Pension Credit)
- Universal Credit (UC)
- Until 1 April 2018, all UC claims were eligible for free school meals, however,
- From 1 April 2018, UC claims will only be eligible for free school meals if the total net earned income is under £7,400 per year OR if the child was eligible for a free school meal on 01/04/18
- Where the child was eligible for a free school meal on 01 April 2018, they will remain entitled to a free school meal regardless of any change in parental income until they finish the phase of education they are in (primary or secondary) as at 31 March 2022
- Any child who becomes eligible for a free school meal between 01 April 2018 and 31 March 2022 will remain entitled to a free school meal regardless of any change in parental income until they finish the phase of education they are in (primary or secondary) as at 31 March 2022
- Support under part V1 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have a total annual income (as assessed by HM Revenue & Customs) that does not exceed £16,190
- During the COVID-19 outbreak, Free School Meal eligibility has been temporarily extended with immediate effect, to include some children of groups who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF). It is anticipated that this extension will end when schools have reopened to all children. These groups are subject to a maximum household earnings threshold of £7,400 per annum. These groups are:
- children of Zambrano carers;
- children of families with no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights;
- children of families receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 who are also subject to a no recourse to public funds restriction.
- We are also temporarily extending eligibility to children of a subset of failed asylum seekers supported under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. This group is not subject to a maximum household earnings threshold
Parents receiving Working Tax Credit for four weeks after their employment finishes are entitled to free school meals during that period. This also applies to parents who start working less than 16 hours per week (please seek advice about this from the Benefits Agency)
Children who receive Income Support or Income Based Job Seekers Allowance in their own right are also entitled to receive Free School Meals.
In cases where children receive education who have not attained compulsory school age (nursery age children) they will only be eligible to receive a Free School Meal if they receive education both before and after the lunch period..
If you receive Working Tax Credit only, your child is NOT eligible.