How to claim free school meals
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How to claim free school meals

If you are the parent, foster parent, network family carer or guardian of children at school, and you are on a low income, you could be entitled to free school meals. Young people, who are still at school but receive income support in their own right, can also receive free school meals.

Your children are entitled to free school meals if you receive:

  • Income support, or
  • Income-Based Job Seeker's Allowance, or
  • Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, or
  • The Guarantee Element of State Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit), or
  • Support under part V1 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, or
  • Child Tax Credit, if you have an annual taxable income (as assessed by H M Revenue and Customs) which does not exceed £16,190

Pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are automatically entitled to Universal Infant Free School Meals, regardless of their parents' income.

If you’re on any of the above benefits, it’s still important to register for a free school meal to ensure your child’s school doesn’t miss out on funding call pupil premium.

Please note, if you are entitled to Working Tax Credit you do not qualify for free school meals unless:

  • your child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2, or
  • you are receiving Working Tax Credit Run-on. This is paid for 4 weeks after your employment ends or your hours reduce to under 16 hours per week.

Children attending nurseries, attached to a Local Education Authority maintained school, can have free school meals for any full days they attend. If your child attends an Early Years Centre, you should contact Children's Services.

To claim free school meals

If you live in Leeds and you already receive Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support:
Contact us if you want to claim a free school meal for your child and we will notify your child’s school if you are entitled. Alternatively, you could enquire at your child’s school.

If you live in Leeds and you do not already receive Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support:
You will need to complete a Benefits Claim Form (PDF 3MB). Please also refer to the information booklet (PDF 0.6MB).

If you live with relatives or friends in Leeds and so do not have any direct housing costs:
You will need to complete a Benefits Claim Form (PDF 3MB).

If you live outside Leeds (if you pay your council tax to a different local authority other than Leeds City Council, but one or more of your children attend a school in Leeds)
You need to use the free school meals only claim form for Non-Leeds residents (Word 0.3MB). When completing the form, only list those children who attend schools within Leeds.

If you live in Leeds but your child attends a school outside Leeds
You must apply to the local authority where their school is located.

Foster Parents and Family Network Carers
You will need to complete the Foster parents and carers claim form (Word 0.3MB).

Where do I send my form?

You should send your signed and completed form to: Welfare and Benefits, PO Box 60, 2 Great George Street, Leeds LS2 8JR, or, you can hand it in at any One Stop Centre or local housing office.

You can also contact Leeds Welfare and Benefits Service on 0113 222 4404.

Asylum seekers

If you are currently receiving NASS Support, you do not need to fill in a form. Just take a Home Office letter that confirms your name, date of birth and 9 Digit NASS Reference Number into school and they will contact Welfare & Benefits on your behalf to check the details. The school will be notified of your entitlement.


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