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Free school meals

If you are claiming certain benefits you could save money by claiming free school meals for your child.

Children whose parents or carers receive the following support payments are entitled to receive free school meals in schools maintained by the council. The term parent includes someone living in the household as the partner of a child's biological parent.

  • Universal Credit if your annualised net earnings are £7400 or less*
  • Income Support
  • Income Based Job Seeker's Allowance
  • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Child Tax Credit where total annual income (as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Custom service) is less than £16,190.00 a year
  • Working Tax Credit 'run-on' - this is the payment someone receives for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working tax Credit (usually when their employment ceases or after they start to work less than 16 hours per week). Any other type of Working Tax Credit will not make you entitled to free school meals.

Pupils who receive Income Support or Income Based Job Seekers Allowance in their own right are also eligible to receive free school meals.

* If you are working and you also get Universal Credit, and want to claim free school meals for your child(ren), you may not know whether your earnings are more than £7,400 a year. When you make your claim for free school meals, your local authority will check your eligibility using the eligibility checking system. In most cases, the eligibility checking system will work out whether your earnings are below £7,400 a year and if you are eligible to claim free school meals for your child(ren). 

 The process works by looking at a claimant's earnings for up to three assessment periods (AP) (starting with the most recent and working back). This means irregular earnings can be taken into consideration.  

In other cases, the local authority will need to ask you to provide proof of earnings and will work out if your earnings are more than £7,400 a year or £616.77 per month (ie £7,400 divided by 12). If your earnings are too high, you will not be able to claim free school meals for your child(ren) (although you can apply again if your earnings should drop).

You can learn more about free school meals on the following website: Free School meals - Welsh GovernmentOpens new window

PDF Document Frequently Asked Questions for Parents following new UC income threshold (PDF, 251KB)Opens new window

How to apply for free school meals

The quickest, easiest and cheapest way is to apply online.

Alternatively, you can download an application form, fill it in and send it to: Free school meals, Benefits section, Civic Centre, Oystermouth Road, Swansea, SA1 3SN.

PDF Document Free School Meals Application (PDF, 48KB)Opens new window

You can also ring us on 01792 635353 and we'll post an application form to you.

What if my circumstances change?

If you have a change in your personal circumstances that might mean you are no longer entitled to free school meals you must notify us immediately. Tell us about changes such as:

  • starting work and coming off benefits
  • if you change to a different benefit
  • moving home
  • if another of your children starts school for the first time
  • if your child changes school mid way through a term

Free school meals - report a change of circumstances

If you do not tell us about changes at the time they happen, you may have to pay us back for any meals taken whilst you were not eligible.

Decided not to apply?

Did you know that the Welsh Government gives an extra grant for every child that is entitled to and claims free school meals. It can be a significant extra bonus for your child's school so we would urge you to make a claim.

School meals offer a healthy option with significant nutritional benefits and recent evidence suggests that having a healthy meal at lunchtime can assist in improving a child's performance and concentration during the day.


Apply for free school meals

Fill out a form to apply for free school meals for your child.

Free school meals - report a change of circumstances

Please tell us if your circumstances change.

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