There are two free school meal schemes – Universal Infant Free School Meals and Income-Related Free School Meals.


If your child attends a state-funded infant school and is in reception class, year 1 or year 2 (key stage 1) they are entitled to free school meals regardless of your income. This could save you almost £400 a year for each child you have in key stage 1.


There is no need to complete an application form

However, we urge those parents who do receive a qualifying benefit to make a formal application as this will allow the school to claim additional funding (pupil premium) for new equipment and resources. You can do this online in the section below.


Schools and local authority nurseries

If you live in Liverpool and receive any of the following benefits you can claim free school meals for your school-aged child. This is also applicable to nursery-aged children if they attend before and after lunch sessions at a local authority nursery school or nursery class:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit  – as long as you have a yearly household income of less than £16,190 (as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs) and do not get Working Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Universal Credit.

If you receive Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support there is no need to complete the form – contact the Benefits Office and they will update your details to include free school meals.


The application process below is for Liverpool City Council area residents only. If you live outside of the Liverpool City Council area please contact your own education authority.

The online application form checks whether your child is eligible and gives you an instant answer.

If you already receive free school meals and wish to register another child then please contact the Benefits Office instead of completing the form again.

Note: Foster parents already receive funding and are not eligible for free school meals.
Note: If you claim Universal Credit do not apply online. Download a paper application form and return to:
Liverpool City Council, Benefits Service, PO Box 13, L69 2JG.

Apply online

How are school meals paid?

If your claim is successful the school will be notified that your child can have free school meals. Schools will ensure that this information is treated in the strictest confidence and handled sensitively.

Change of circumstances

You must contact the Benefits Office if your circumstances change. For example, if you no longer receive benefits, move house or change school, as this may affect your right to claim.