Check with your local council to see if your child qualifies for free school meals and find out how to apply.

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What you need to know

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  • Available in England and Wales only

Your child may be able to get free school meals if you get 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 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

Children who get any of the above benefits in their own right (ie they get benefits payments directly, instead of through a parent or guardian) can also get free school meals.

Children under the compulsory school age who are in full time education may also be able to get free school meals.

If you think your child is entitled to free school meals, you’ll usually need to fill in an application form you can get from your local council. Give your completed application to your child’s school and make sure you can show documentary proof of any support you get.

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