Covid-19: Changed circumstances and free school meals

For many families, the coronavirus outbreak has meant a change in financial circumstances. If your circumstances have changed, and you have school aged children, you might want to consider whether you meet the criteria for free school meals:

  • Income Support.
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance.
  • Income-related Employment & Support Allowance.
  • Child Tax Credit – but no element of Working Tax Credit – and an annual income (as assessed by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)) that does not exceed £16,190.
  • If you are supported under Part VI of the Immigration & Asylum Act 1999.
  • Guarantee element of State Pension Credit.
  • Working Tax Credit during the four week period immediately after your employment finishes or after you start to work fewer hours per week.
  • Universal Credit with an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400 (as from 1 April 2018).

If you think you might qualify, do complete an online application at to receive an instant response.

If you have previously applied or been eligible for free school meals, you do not need to re-apply, as the council will continue to re-check your entitlement each month and will notify you should you become re-eligible.

Whilst schools remain closed the council is continuing to support eligible families to help ease the burden during this difficult time. This may be in the form of packed lunches, food parcels or food vouchers. Once your eligibility has been confirmed, your child’s school will inform you of their own specific provision arrangements directly.

If you have any queries in relation to free school meals entitlement please contact the council’s Education Welfare Benefits Team on or telephone them on 01223 703200.