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Free School Meals Information

Free school meals entitlement


Changes to free school meal eligibility and Universal Credit

The eligibility criteria for free school meals have changed from September 2018.


What are the new eligibility criteria from September 2018?

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 as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods.

  • 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.


How do I apply for a free school meal if I think my child is eligible?

Lincolnshire County Council has introduced a new process for applying for free school meals which became ‘live’ for parents / carers on the 4th September 2018 via the Parent Portal. The link is: If you would like assistance in logging on to this site then we are happy to help at school. Alternatively we have a set of instructions available at school detailing how to access the online Parent Portal to apply for a free school meal for your child / children.


I don't currently claim free school meals – what does this mean for me?

If you think you might be eligible for free school meals, please use the link to the new Parent Portal to determine if your child/ren are eligible for free school meals. If you child is in YR, Year 1 or Year 2 and receives the Universal Infant Free School Meal and you think you meet the new eligibility criteria we would urge you to still apply as school will receive extra funding. If you are eligible, we will be notified.


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

Most people won't be affected by the new criteria. From the 1st April 2018, all existing free school meals pupils will continue to receive free school meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out. This is called the Transitional Protection. This will apply even if parents’ earnings rise above the new threshold during that time. In addition any child gaining eligibility for free school meals after 1 April 2018 will be protected against losing free school meals during the Universal Credit rollout period. The Universal Credit rollout period is currently expected to be complete in March 2022.