Free school meals (FSM): who's eligible?

Find out the eligibility criteria for free school meals (FSM), and learn about the transitional protections in place during the Universal Credit rollout period.

Last reviewed on 24 April 2023See updates
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 3930
  1. Eligibility criteria
  2. Transitional protections during Universal Credit rollout 
  3. Eligible nursery pupils can receive FSM
  4. FSM for eligible post-16 students
  5. Looked after children are not eligible for FSM
  6. Adopted pupils aren't automatically eligible
  7. FSM for children of asylum seekers
  8. How to check eligibility

Eligibility criteria

A child may be eligible for free school meals (FSM) if their parents receive any of the following benefits:

Children may also get FSM if they receive any of these benefits directly, instead of