Somerset County Council

Free school meals


Applications are currently taking longer than 10 working days to process.  We are doing them as quickly as we can.  Apologies for any inconvenience this causes.

Children who attend a Somerset County Council school, whose parents or carers receive certain benefits may be entitled to free school meals.

It is the responsibility of the parents or carers to register their entitlement and request that free school meals are provided for their children.

Free school meals are available to children whose parents qualify by meeting the criteria below. Children must be in school all day and they will be provided with a meal at lunchtime which is paid for by the school.

Children in pre-school or nursery (known as childcare providers) do not qualify for a free meal until they start school, but applications will be processed so that when your child starts school, you will already be notified whether they qualify for a free school meal or not.  

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Parents and carers who receive any of the following are entitled to free school meals:

  • Universal Credit with an annual household income of less than £7,400 after tax
  • Income Support (IS) 
  • Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related) - not Contribution related 
  • Income-based Job Seekers Allowance (IBJSA) - not Contribution based 
  • Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit. 
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 
  • Child Tax Credit with an annual taxable income (as assessed by HMRC) of less than £16,190 as long as the family are not also in receipt of Working Tax Credit. 

If you have recently become unemployed, but are still receiving Working Tax Credits, you may be entitled to free school meals. Please phone us on 0300 123 2224 for advice.

Only the benefits listed above qualify for free school meals. No other benefit entitles parents or carers to free school meals for their children.

How to apply

  1. Please fill in the online form, print out a copy of the form from this page or contact us on 0300 123 2224 to ask for an application form.
  2. If you are filling in a paper form, take the completed form to your child's school, or send it to - Entitlements Team, County Hall, Taunton, TA1 4DY. 

You do not need to send evidence with this application. If we need evidence at a later date we will contact you.

We will enter your details into a system which will tell us whether you are entitled or not. We will tell you the outcome, usually within 5 to 10 working days of getting the application. If you are eligible, we will tell you how to start receiving free school meals.

If your child is entitled to a free school meal, but requires a special medical diet, we can arrange for an appropriate meal to be provided. You will need to ask your doctor to write a letter explaining which foods must be avoided.

Once Free School Meals has been awarded to a child, they will remain in place for that child until at least March 2022 regardless of any change in circumstances, when it will be reviewed in line with the latest government requirements.

Please contact us for further advice.

Universal Infant Free School Meals
Every child in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 is entitled to a Universal Infant Free School Meal. Each school is responsible for providing this and they may ask you to complete an application form to show that you require a meal for your child or children. Therefore, please contact your school to discuss arranging a meal, or fill in the Universal Infant Free School Meal application form and hand it in to your child's school.


Contact: Children and Young People's Team
Address: Customer Contact, PO Box 618, Taunton, TA1 3WF
Phone: 0300 123 2224 (please select option 1)
Fax: 01823 321187

Opening Hours: Monday 8am to 6pm, Tuesday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm, Saturday and Sunday closed. 

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