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Free School Meals

There are two free school meal schemes - universal infant free school meals and income related free school meals.

Universal infant free school meals

If your child attends a state funded infant school and is in reception class, year 1 or year 2 (key stage 1) they are entitled to free school meals regardless of your income. This could save you almost £400 a year for each child you have in key stage 1.

How to apply

There is no need to complete an application form as you should have received a letter from the school to take up the offer of free school meals. Please contact the school if you have not received this letter.

However, we urge those parents who do receive a qualifying benefit to make a formal application as this will allow the school to claim additional funding (pupil premium) for new equipment and resources. You can do this online in the section below.

Income related free school meals

Schools and local authority nurseries 

If you live in Liverpool and receive any of the following benefits you can claim free school meals for your school-aged child. This is also applicable to nursery-aged children if they attend before and after lunch sessions at a local authority nursery school or nursery class:

  • Income Support
  • Income based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income related Employment Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit  - as long as you have a yearly household income of less than £16,190 (as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs) and do not get Working Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Universal Credit - provided you have an annual net earned income not exceeding £7,400 (£616.67 per month).

If you receive Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support there is no need to complete the form - just contact us and we will update your details to include free school meals.

Note: If you are over 18 and still attend school, you can claim for free school meals if you receive any of the first three allowances listed above.

How long will my child's eligibility last?

  • If your child was eligible for free school meals before Sunday, 1st April 2018, they'll stay eligible until March 2022, regardless of any change in your circumstances whilst Universal Credit is rolled out nationally.
  • If your child gains eligibility for free school meals after 1st April 2018 they'll stay eligible until March 2022, regardless of any change in your circumstances.
  • After March 2022, your child will stay eligible until the end of their current phase of education. For example, if your child is in year 4 in 2022, they will remain eligible until they finish primary school but will no longer be eligible for free school meals in secondary school if you and your partner's net income is more than £7,400 per year.

The above protections are for an individual child, not the family. Younger children must meet the eligibility criteria at the time you apply for free school meals for them.

How to claim

The application process below is for Liverpool City Council area residents only. If you live outside of the Liverpool City Council area please contact your own education authority.

The online application form checks whether your child is eligible and gives you an instant answer.

If you already receive free school meals and wish to register another child then please contact us instead of completing the form again.

Note: Foster parents already receive funding and are not eligible for free school meals.   Note: If you claim Universal Credit do not apply online. Download a paper application form and return to: Liverpool City Council, Benefits Service, PO Box 13, L69 2JG.

Apply online

How are school meals paid?

If your claim is successful the school will be notified that your child can have free school meals. Schools will ensure that this information is treated with the strictest confidence and handled sensitively.

Who to contact

Contact Name
Benefits Service

Where to go

Cunard Building
Water Street
L3 1AH

Local Offer

Local Offer Age Bands
Primary (5 to 11)
Secondary (11 to 16)
Early Years (0 to 5)
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