Guide to Applying for Free School Meals

Your child may be able to get free school meals if you receive any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit – if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.

If you receive Universal Credit and are not already claiming free school meals for your children, make sure you don’t miss out and apply:

  • where possible all parents and guardians should apply online – you will receive an immediate response advising you whether you are eligible or not
  • if you are unable to apply online please contact the free school meals team – telephone: 01228 606060

You will need to register an account first.

These are the steps to register online at Cumbria County Council’s Citizen Portal:


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