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Free School Meals - New Eligibility Letter

Dear Parents/Carers

This letter is just for your information and requires no action, but the Department for Education have asked us to make you aware of some changes to free school meal eligibility.

Changes to free school meal eligibility under Universal Credit

The eligibility criteria for free school meals have been changed by the Department for Education. This letter explains the changes and how they might affect you.

I am currently claiming free school meals – what does this mean for me?

Most people won’t be affected by the new criteria. If you’re currently claiming free school meals, but don’t meet the new criteria, your child will continue to receive free school meals until the end of the Universal Credit rollout period, which is currently scheduled to end March 2022. This will apply even if your earnings rise above the new threshold or if you stop being entitled to Universal Credit. Your child will keep their free school meal until the end of their current phase of education following the end of the Universal Credit rollout i.e. primary or secondary.

For your information, the new eligibility criteria states:

Children are entitled to receive free school meals if they or their parents or guardians receive any of the benefits below.

  • Universal Credit, provided they have an annual net earned income not exceeding £7,400 (£616.67 per month)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guarantee element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, provided they are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by HMRC
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

Where can I get more information?

If you need any further information, please visit the free school meals website:


Yours sincerely

Miss Sandra Manning,

Assistant Head.