IMPORTANT: DO NOT use this form for September 2022/23 applications.

Use this application form for the remaining part of the 2021/22 school year only.

Applications for the 2022/23 year are not yet available. Please check back. If you use this form to apply for help for September 2022, the application will be rejected.

If you need to apply for free school meals for this academic year (until June 2022) please use the below form.

  • Current Eligibility
  • Your Circumstances
  • Claimant Details
  • Child(ren) Details
  • Account Details
  • Confirmation
  • Declaration


Check your eligibility before beginning your application.

I live in Northern Ireland and my child/children attend a school or Regional College/FE College in Northern Ireland
I am the person receiving one of the qualifying benefits listed below
  • Income Support
  • Income-Based Jobseeker's Allowance (if you receive Contribution-Based Jobseeker's Allowance you will not qualify under this benefit)
  • Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) - if you receive Contribution-Based ESA you will not qualify under this benefit
  • Guarantee Element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit and/or Working Tax Credit with an annual taxable household income not exceeding £16,190
  • Universal Credit with net household earnings not exceeding £14,000 per year
  • If you are an Asylum Seeker supported by the Home Office Asylum Support Assessment Team (ASAT) you can also apply.
I am only applying for children in my actual custody who are included in my Child Benefit / Child Tax Credit / Universal Credit payments / Home Office Asylum Support.

Before you begin

Please ensure that you have the following at hand before you start, to enable you to complete and submit the application correctly:
You have your National Insurance Number available (or you have a National Asylum Support Service (NASS) Reference Number or AS (Asylum Seeker) Reference Number instead of a National Insurance Number)
You have your current address details, including home and mobile telephone numbers
You have an email address that you can access
We will use this address to contact you about your application so you must be able to access it.
You have details of your bank or building society account into which you want any payments to be made
This should include your Name, Sort Code and Account Number.  The name on the account must be exactly the same name as on your application.
Please note that you can proceed with your application, however, payments by bank account are recommended and will assist in the processing of your application.
You have the name(s) of the school(s) or college(s) which your child(ren) will attend.
If a child is waiting for results please state the school/college which he/she is most likely to attend.  Contact the Meals and Uniform Section on later if this changes.

Criteria review

We need to check which qualifying benefit you are applying under before you can begin your application.
Please select your qualifying benefit
If you receive Contribution-Based Jobseeker's Allowance you will not qualify under this benefit

If you are not eligible under the benefits listed above but your child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs (stage 5) and also requires a special diet, you can request a paper Special Diet Application Form from the Meals and Uniform Section by emailing

Please note that BOTH these criteria must be met otherwise your child will not qualify.

If you receive Income Support, Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance or Guarantee Element of State Pension Credit you do not need to bring your application/other document to the Jobs & Benefits Office to be stamped or to send your Tax Credits Award Notice (TC602)/Annual Review Notice (TC603R)/Universal Credit Payments breakdown to the Meals and Uniform Section.

The Meals and Uniform Section will confirm your entitlement to the relevant benefit with the Department for Communities upon receipt of your fully completed application. 
Do you have all pages of your Tax Credits Award Notice (TC602) for the year 06/04/2021 to 05/04/2022?

If applying under Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit all pages of your Tax Credits Award Notice (TC602) for the year 06/04/2021 to 05/04/2022 must be attached to the application.  Tax Credits Award Notices (TC602) before these dates cannot be accepted.

NB – if you have received a TC603R Annual Review Notice instead of a TC602 Notice, answer ‘no’ and another option will be shown.

Have you received a Tax Credits Annual Review Notice (TC603R) for the year ended April 2021 which states 'Check now no later than 31/07/2021'?

If you have misplaced/lost your TC602/TC603R you must contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on their Helpline 0345 300 3900 to request a replacement.  If you have renewed your Tax Credits and have not received a TC602/TC603R or a replacement from HMRC by the end of July 2021 you can submit this application but must attach a letter stating why a TC602/TC603R is not attached

This may delay your claim.

If you have not received your 06/04/2021 to 05/04/2022 Tax Credits Award Notice (TC602) but have received a Tax Credits Annual Review Notice (TC603R) for the year ended April 2021 which states 'Check now no later than 31/07/2021' then you can attach this to your application. Tax Credits Annual Review Notices (TC603R) which state 'Reply now no later than 31/07/2021' cannot be accepted.  You must attach all pages of your TC603R, which must include household income details where applicable.

If your TC603R notice does not state your income but you have received a later, separate document from HMRC confirming this, you must attach all pages of your TC603R notice as well as the extra document which states your income details.

If you are applying under Universal Credit you must attach all pages of your most recent Universal Credit Payments breakdown, which can be found by logging into your Universal Credit account at and clicking on your most recent payment details where you will be shown the breakdown of all payments and deductions of how your Universal Credit has been calculated. This will ensure that you provide us with all of the necessary information.

You must attach your Asylum documents such as your Application Registration Card (ARC) or BAIL 201 letter to show that you are supported by the Home Office Asylum Support Assessment Team (ASAT) or evidence from your Key Worker in the Red Cross/Barnardos/Extern, etc. to confirm that you are an Asylum Seeker and that you have applied for support. 

It looks like you aren't eligible for Free School Meals based on the answers you've given above. Are you sure the information is correct?