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Eligibility for free school meals

Your child is eligible to receive free school meals (in maintained schools in Wales) if you or your child receive the following...

  • Income Support (IS)*
  • Income Based Jobseekers Allowance (IBJSA)*
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Income-related Employment Support Allowance (IR)
  • Child Tax Credit - providing you’re not entitled to Working Tax Credit with an annual total income below the HMRC set limit
  • Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit 'run-on' - the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit - if you are working you must be earning less than £7,400 per year (£616.67 per month) to qualify for free school meals

How to apply

You can apply by using our online application form

Transitional protection 

If we identify that your circumstances have changed and your child is no longer eligible under the main scheme, they will still be eligible for free meals under the transitional protection scheme.

This scheme means that your child would receive free meals under the transitional rule until December 31, 2023 or until the end of their current phase of education.

If your child gets free meals under transitional protection, this would mean that they would be ineligible for other things such as the School Essentials Grant.

Universal Primary Free School Meals

All primary pupils in years 3 – 6 are entitled to Universal Primary Free School Meals. 

For your child to get their free school meals you will need to book using the ParentPay website (external link). You can find out more about registering with ParentPay on our ‘Pay for school meals’ page.

If you are on a low income or benefits it is still important for you to apply for free school meals (at the start of this page) for your children. This is because if you are eligible for free school meals it could mean:

  • further financial help is available to you (including the School Essentials Grant, music lessons and school trips) 
  • increased funding for your child’s school