Free school meals

Parents/carers of children attending an East Riding of Yorkshire school (not college) can apply for free school meals for their child/children.

  Please refer to the link "Is my child entitled to free school meals" below to see if you are entitled and make your application today.

Apply for free school meals

Is my child entitled to free school meals?

Your child(ren) will be entitled to free school meals if you as the parent are in receipt of any of the following benefits:

  • Job Seeker's Allowance (income-based)
  • Income Support
  • Universal Credit - Your annual income assessed by the Department for Work and Pension must be less than £7,400. Any pupil eligible for free school meals before 1 April 2018 when the earned income threshold is introduced will retain their eligibility until then end of universal credit roll-out which is March 2022
  • Child Tax Credit (but NOT receiving Working Tax Credit) – provided your annual income, assessed by the Inland Revenue, does not exceed £16,190 (Please note: this amount is subject to change in April every year)
  • Employment Support Allowance (income-related)
  • Guarantee Element of State Pension Credit
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

Entitlement to free school meals is kept as confidential as possible. Many schools now have systems in place such as swipe cards or fingerprint identification systems, which do not identify to other pupils the fact that a child is receiving a free school meal.  

The free school meal will remain in place for as long as your child continues to attend an East Riding of Yorkshire school and you continue to be entitled to one of the above qualifying benefits.

Please note: you must contact the council's benefits section if your circumstances change and you are no longer in receipt of one of the listed benefits.

How do I apply for free school meals?

There are several methods of applying for free school meals which are shown below:


If you meet the criteria and would like make an application please complete our online form:

Free school meals application form


You can also telephone the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Benefits section on (01482) 394799.

They will need the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your date of birth
  • National Insurance Number (or registered asylum seekers number)
  • Child's details – Name, date of birth and school.

The benefits section will make automated checks to confirm your entitlement and tell you immediately if you qualify.

In person

You can visit any East Riding of Yorkshire customer service centre for an application form.

Send the completed form to the benefits section at the following address:

East Riding of Yorkshire Council
Benefits Section
PO Box 12
County Hall
Cross Street
HU17 9BA.

Can my child receive free school meals whilst at college?

Children can receive free school meals if they are under 19-years-old, in full-time education and attending a school with a sixth form.

What happens after I have applied for free school meals?

If we are able to confirm your award, applications are usually processed the same day.  If your child(ren) is entitled to free school meals you will receive a letter confirming the date when the meals will start.  

If you receive universal credit, we will not be able to advise you if you are eligible until your universal credit claim has been processed. 

If you are struggling financially or would like further information on benefits, then please contact our Welfare Visiting team:

Tel: (01482) 394633

Email: benefit.takeup@eastriding.gov.uk

Will the school be notifiedif I am successful in claiming free school meals, and do I receive written notification?

Yes, the school is notified using our system, you will receive written notification with a start date. Should your circumstances change, meaning that your child is no longer eligible, you will be sent a letter with an end date and the school will be notified automatically.

What will my child receive as a recipient of free school meals? 

Your child will receive a healthy, nutritional free meal at school. 

All East Riding of Yorkshire schools which follow the current menu cycle produced by the East Riding school meals team, provide meals that meet the government's food standards.

How much does my child receive when eligible for free school meals?

Children do not receive cash.

The school will provide a free school meal. The allocation is a fixed amount to align with the 'meal deal' in secondary schools and the two-course school lunch in primary schools.

Can my free school meals allowance be back-dated?

No. Free school meals are awarded from the date a claim is made, once eligibility is checked and verified.

I have been receiving free school meals but this was wrong as I have been getting working tax credits, will I have to pay the council or the school this money back?

No. Free school meals eligibility will be ended from the date that you inform benefits that your circumstances have changed. 

It is not backdated, however, you do have a legal duty to inform benefits as soon as your circumstances change.