Am I eligible for free school meals?
You will be able to claim free school meals for your child if you receive one of the following benefits:
- Universal Credit (provided you have a net income from employment of no more than £7400 per year). For more information on how the government calculates your earnings from employment whilst claiming Universal Credit, please see the "Eligibility under Universal Credit" section below.
- 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 guarantee 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 £16190)
- Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
Eligibility under Universal Credit
To be eligible for free school meals, a Universal Credit recipient must have earnings from employment which do not exceed £7400 per year. Whether you exceed the £7400 per year threshold is determined by looking at any earnings from employment reported on your most recent Universal Credit statements. Firstly, the last complete Universal Credit assessment period is reviewed for income from employment in excess of £616.67 (one twelfth of the £7400 threshold).
If income from employment in the most recent Universal Credit period is less than £616.67, an applicant is eligible for free school meals. If it exceeds £616.67, then combined income from employment in the last two and then the last three assessment periods are considered (assuming Universal Credit has been received for longer than one complete period). The full income from employment thresholds are:
- £616.67 in the last assessment period (one twelfth of the £7400 threshold). If income is less than this amount in the most recent assessment period, an applicant is eligible for free school meals. If income exceeds this amount then:
- £1233.34 in the last two assessment periods (one sixth of the £7400 threshold). If the combined income is less than this amount in the two most recent assessment periods, an applicant is eligible for free school meals. If income exceeds this amount then:
- £1850 in the last three assessment periods (one quarter of the £7400 threshold). If the combined income is less than this in the three most recent assessment periods, an applicant is eligible for free school meals. If income exceeds this amount then an applicant is not currently eligible.
Universal Credit recipients can determine the amount of income from employment recorded on their claim by referring to the deductions section of their Universal Credit statements. An "earnings reported by your employer" amount will be recorded if appropriate.