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Who is eligible for free school meals?

A child will be entitled to a free school meal if their parents are in receipt of:

  • 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 Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (with no working tax credit) and whose annual income is £15,860 or less
  • Working Tax Credit 'run-on' - the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit.

The tax regime will be changing when the new universal credit is introduced so be aware that eligibility may also be revisited.

The Education (School Lunches) (Scotland) Regulations 2009 extended entitlement to the children of parents with an award of both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit (based on an income below £6,420). Children between 16 and 18 in receipt of any of these benefits in their own right can claim free school lunches themselves.

Whilst there is no legal entitlement to a free school meal for Primary 1 to Primary 3 pupils, local authorities have explicitly agreed to provide this as part of the funding settlement and underpinning Concordat signed by local authorities in 2007.