Free school meals are available to children up to 19 years of age who attend Warwickshire County Council maintained schools and maintained nursery schools on a full-time basis ie before and after the lunch break, and whose parents/carers are in receipt of a qualifying benefit.

Qualifying for Free School Meals

The current criteria for claiming free school meals are:

  • Income support
  • Income-based job seeker’s allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • Guarantee element of state pension credit
  • Universal credit
  • Both income-cased and contribution-based JSA/ESA if you receive the same amount for both. You should also qualify if you receive both but the Income-based amount is greater, but not if the contribution-based amount is greater
  • Families who are awarded Child Tax Credit and have an annual income, as assessed by HMRC, not in excess of £16,190 are also eligible to claim free school meals providing there is no entitlement to Working Tax Credit (unless in respect of a 4-week ‘run-on’).

Temporary qualification for free school meals

You become eligible to claim free school meals if you receive a Working Tax Credit run-on: this is the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit.


In order to qualify for free school meals after the four week period expires you will need to be in receipt of one of the other qualifying benefits listed above, and we will need to be able to verify that.

Unfortunately there is no 4 week ‘run-on’ of free school meals if you become entitled to Working Tax Credit because you have taken work: your entitlement to claim free school meals ends when your qualifying benefit ends.


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