Free School Meals
If you have children under 19 and in full-time education, you may be able to get free school meals for them.
Am I eligible?
Universal Credit is a benefit for people of working age on a low income, which is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It’s a single monthly payment which will gradually replace the following benefits with a few exceptions:
▪ Income support
▪ Income related job seeker’s allowance
▪ Income related employment support allowance
▪Working tax credit/Child tax credit
Free school meals eligibility checking
New claimants earning under the threshold and receiving Universal Credit, will be eligible for free school meals. New claimants earning above the threshold after April 2018, will not be eligible for free school meals.
Annual net earned income threshold of £7,400 which equate to total household income after benefits of between £18,000 – £24,000.
Please see the following link for further information https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit
Transitional protection for pupils receiving free school meals
To ensure that existing recipients of free school meals do not lose entitlement. Pupils will be protected until 31 March 2025, because of the change in the qualifying criteria of Universal Credit.
• From April 2018, any pupil eligible for free school meals before 1 April 2018 will keep their entitlement until 31 March 2025, even if their parent’s circumstances changes.
• In addition, any pupil gaining eligibility for free school meals during the rollout of Universal Credit from (1 April 2018 – 31 March 2025) will keep their eligibility until 31 March 2025.
• Once the roll out of Universal Credit has been completed (31 March 2025) any losing pupil will continue to be transitionally protected until the end of their current phase of education eg primary/secondary. Those pupils moving from primary to secondary (current Year 6 pupils) must make a new application for free school meals before starting secondary.
• Schools should flag pupils as “protected pupils” in their management information systems as this will be needed for school data collections.
All protected pupils will be identified on schools’ free school meals list. Please note due to the transitional protection, eligibility for free school meals will now be pupil based and no longer family based and you may have cases of one sibling entitled to free school meals and the other not.
For more information please refer to the DfE guidance: DFE GUIDANCE ON FREE SCHOOL MEALS