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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 Pupil Development Grant.

Universal Primary Free School Meals

Free school meals will be offered to all pupils in reception from September 1, 2022 as part of a Welsh Government scheme called Universal Primary School Free School Meals. It will be extended to those in Year 1 and Year 2 from April 2023.

If your child is in reception and you would like them to have their free meal in school, simply use the ParentPay website to book your child's free meal. 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 important for you to make an application for Free School Meals (above) for your children regardless of the universal provision. Free School Meal benefit eligibility may mean further financial help is available to you (including the Pupil Development Grant, music lessons and school trips) as well as increasing the funding for your child’s school.