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Check if your child can get free school meals.

First published:
5 September 2022
Last updated:


Free school meals are available to eligible children who attend a maintained school in Wales. Universal primary free school meals are currently being rolled out across Wales, starting with the youngest learners in our primary schools.


Your child may be able to get free school meals if you get 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
  • Child Tax Credit (as long as you don't also get Working Tax Credit and your annual income is £16,190 or less before tax)
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit - your household earnings must be less than £7,400 a year after tax. This does not include any income from benefits.

The local authority where a learner goes to school (not where they live) is responsible for:

  • providing the free school meal
  • assessing the eligibility

Free school meal legislation allows foster parents to claim free school meals. As long as a parent is eligible to claim free school meals, the child can get them. A child could potentially have four parents; two foster parents and two natural parents.

Transitional protection

On 1 April 2019, the Welsh Government introduced new rules for claiming free school meals. As a result, a small number of children and young people could have lost their eligibility for free school meals. 'Transitional protection' was introduced to ensure that these children and young people continue to receive free school meals for a limited period of time. You can find out more from your local authority.