Documents to download


Eligibility for free school meals

Parents in England do not have to pay for school lunches if they receive any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided they are 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 a person stops qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit – with household income of less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits) from 1 April 2018, with transitional protections for previously existing claimants

During the coronavirus outbreak, eligibility for free school meals has been extended to include some groups of children who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF).

Since September 2014, free school meals have been provided for all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2.

Free school meals may also be available to pre-school children and those in school sixth forms.  Local authorities are responsible for providing free school lunches and applications must be made through the relevant local body.

Section 4 of the Library briefing School meals and nutritional standards (England) provides information on eligibility, including the 2018 changes relating to claimants receiving Universal Credit.

Documents to download

Related posts