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:
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.
We have temporarily extended free school meal eligibility to include some children of groups who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF).
These groups are:
These groups are subject to a maximum household income threshold of £31,500 per year for London, and £28,200 for areas outside of London. See the London or outside London section if you are unsure as to which threshold applies for your circumstances.
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 income threshold as these families are not able to work.
This extension covers both children who are attending school and children who are self-isolating at home because they or a member of their household have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you receive Working Tax Credit only, your child is not eligible.