Check if your child can get free school meals in England and find out how to apply on your local authority’s website.
If your child is eligible for free school meals, they’ll also qualify for the Holiday Activity and Food Programme (HAF). You have to apply before each holiday. Contact your local council to find out how to apply.
Your child may be able to get free school meals if you 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 you’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 you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)
Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.
Your child may also get free school meals if you get any of these benefits and your child is both:
- younger than the compulsory age for starting school
- in full-time education
If your child is eligible for free school meals, they’ll remain eligible until they finish the phase of schooling (primary or secondary) they’re in on 31 March 2023.
Infant free school meals in England
Your child will be able to get free school meals if they’re in a government-funded school and in:
- reception class
- year 1
- year 2
Tell your local authority if you also get any of the qualifying benefits. Your child’s school can get extra funding if you do.