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Families who receive the following are eligible for free school meals:

  • income support
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • guarantee element of state pension credit
  • Universal Credit (with an annual income of less than £7,400)
  • Both income-based and contribution-based JSA/ESA if you receive the same amount for both. You should also qualify if you receive both, but the income-based amount is greater, but not if the contribution-based amount is greater.
  • Families who are awarded Child Tax Credit and have an annual income assessed by HMRC to be no more than £16,190, providing there is no entitlement to Working Tax Credit (unless in respect of a 4-week ‘run-on’).

If you receive a qualifying benefit, free school meals are available for:

  • Pupils at any school maintained by the authority (including a sixth form attached to a maintained school)
  • Pupils attending maintained nurseries, if they are attending both before and after lunch. Free school meals are not available to children attending private nurseries.

Please note that the online checking system only confirms or denies your eligibility to claim free school meals and does not give us access to any other information.

If you are currently in receipt of either Universal Credit, or the four-week run on of Working Tax Credit, you will need to send proof to us you have completed and saved your application.

Apply online

If your application is successful, you will receive an email to confirm your child’s eligibility for free school meals. This will be in place until at least summer 2023, when the roll out of Universal Credit is due to be completed, irrespective of any changes to your financial circumstances. Their school will also be notified.

If your application is unsuccessful, the online system will continuously check your eligibility status and inform you and the school of any changes.