About free school meals

All primary school children in Reception year, Year 1 and Year 2 in Herefordshire are entitled to school meals.

Free school meals are available to children in other year groups if you or your partner receive benefits. If you receive benefits and your child is in Reception year, Year 1 or Year 2, please complete a free school meals application form, as the school can get extra funding if you do. You only need to complete one application form for all your children, even if they attend different schools within Herefordshire.

Who can apply for free school meals

You can apply for free school meals if you receive any of the following benefits:

  • Income Support or Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit if NET earnings do not exceed £616.67 per month (or £7400 per year)
  • Pension Guarantee Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, where Working Tax Credit is NOT in payment AND your annual income does not exceed £16,190 (as determined by HM Revenues and Customs)
  • Working Tax Credit 'Run On' (a 4 week payment when your employment has ceased). Please note if you are receiving standard Working Tax Credit you would NOT be eligible.
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

How to apply

If your child or children attend school outside the county, you must make your application for free school meals to the relevant local council, even if you live in Herefordshire.

Nursery aged children attending a Herefordshire Council maintained nursery, may be eligible but must be receiving education before and after lunch to be entitled to free school meals.

Apply for free school meals

We usually process applications within 48 hours and you will receive a letter confirming your entitlement, unless your child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 as your child will already be receiving a free meal. We will also inform your child's school. Please note, we cannot backdate applications.

Changes from 1 April 2018

With effect from 1 April 2018, changes were made to Free School Meals due to an earnings threshold being introduced for Universal Credit claimants.

As part of this change, all children entitled to Free School Meals before 1 April 2018 are now protected and will receive Free School Meals until at least March 2025 regardless of whether your income changes.

Any parents or guardians that satisfy the eligibility criteria after 1 April 2018 until March 2025 will also see their children being protected and entitled to Free School Meals until at least March 2025 so there has never been a better time to apply.

You must notify us of any changes to your child's school.


Free School Meals contact details

Address: Revenues and Benefits Section, Herefordshire Council, Plough Lane, Hereford HR4 0LE

Please note: Plough Lane is a postal address, we do not have customer service officers at this location.

Telephone: 01432 260366

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