Free school meals

If you are in receipt of the following support payments, your child will be entitled to receive free school meals:

  • Universal Credit – from 1 April 2018 provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods
  • Income Support (IS)
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (IBJSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (IRESA)
  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, that does not exceed £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (the payment someone receives for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

Children who receive a qualifying benefit in their own right are also allowed to receive free school meals.

From 1 April 2018, all existing free school meals claimants will continue to receive free school meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out. This will apply even if your earnings rise above the new threshold during that time. In addition, any child gaining eligibility for free school meals after 1 April 2018 will be protected against losing free school meals during the Universal Credit rollout period.

Once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, if you no longer meet the eligibility criteria at that point (because you are earning above the threshold or are no longer a recipient of Universal Credit) your child will continue to receive free school meals until the end of their current phase of education (i.e. primary or secondary).

The Universal Credit rollout is currently expected to complete in March 2022.

You will be aware that the Government introduced universal infant free school meals for all key stage 1 pupils from September 2014. All pupils in reception, year 1 and year 2 in state-funded schools in England are eligible for Universal infant free school meals. This includes academies, free schools, pupil referral units and alternative provisions as well as maintained schools.

The easiest way for you to apply is via the Free School Meal Administrator at your child’s school; they will make the application direct to the Free School Meals Team at or Plymouth City Council.  Alternatively you can download the Free School Meal application form, take it to your child’ school, they confirm your child’s attendance at their school and forward the application to the Free School Meal Team on your behalf. 

 Free school meal application form [PDF, ]130KB

Email fsm@plymouth.gov.uk or call 01752 307410 for more information.