Free School Meal Information
Children in reception, year 1 and year 2 automatically get free school meals. This is called Universal infant free school meals (UIFSM). You don't need to apply for UIFSM, just let your child’s school know.
Children in year 3 and above
Your child may be eligible for free school meals if you are receiving any of the following:
Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
Child Tax Credit (not Working Tax Credit), with an annual income below £16,190
Pension Guarantee Credit
Employment and Support Allowance, income related
Support under part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act, 1999
Working Tax Credit run-on, paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
Universal Credit, with a household income of £7,400 or less (after tax and not including any benefits you get)
Your application will be refused if you're not receiving any of the listed benefits. Please consider this before applying.
You can apply for free school meals online at: www.essex.gov.uk/free-school-meals
Your application will be processed within 15 working days, but it can take longer if you apply in August or September.
ECC will contact you and the school if your child is entitled.
Change of circumstances
If your child changes school or address, you will need to reapply for free school meals.