Income eligibility guidelines for free and reduced-price meals announced

The following graph shows income criteria and household size that will be used for determining eligibility. The guidelines are effective until June 30, 2021. Children from households that meet federal guidelines are eligible for free or reduced-price meals and milk.

The Indiana Department of Education last week announced income eligibility guidelines, including household size, for the free and reduced-price school meals and milk programs. The National School Lunch, School Breakfast, and Special Milk programs were created to support students unable to pay the full price for meals or milk.

Indiana Department of Education Announces Income Eligibility Guidelines for Free and Reduced-Price School Meals and Milk Programs

The Indiana Department of Education announced income eligibility guidelines, including household size, for the free and reduced-price school meals and milk programs. The National School Lunch, School Breakfast, and Special Milk programs were created to support students unable to pay the full price for meals or milk.

To apply for free or reduced-price benefits, households must complete the application form provided to all homes. One application should be submitted for all students enrolled in the school district. Households should answer all applicable questions on the form. An application that does not contain all the required information cannot be processed and approved by the school. The required information to be included is:

SNAP (FOOD STAMP) / TANF / MEDICAID HOUSEHOLDS

When SNAP (Food Stamp), TANF, and Medicaid information is known by the school, households will receive a letter stating their child is enrolled in free or reduced meals, and an application does not need to be completed. If any student is not listed on that letter of approval for free or reduced meals, please contact the school to have free or reduced meal benefits extended to those additional children in the household. If a household receives SNAP (Food Stamps) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) for any child or other household member, they need only to list the child’s name and Food Stamp or TANF case number, and sign the application to receive free meals. Medicaid information on an application does not automatically qualify a household for free or reduced meals. The household will need to submit on an application other qualifying information such as SNAP, TANF, or income.

ALL OTHER HOUSEHOLDS

If a household’s income is at or below the level shown on the income scale, children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals or free milk. Households must provide the following information:

The names of all household members;

All household income last month and source of income received by each household member (for example, EARNINGS, WELFARE, PENSION, or OTHER). Income is all money before taxes or anything else is taken out;

The signature of an adult household member, and;

The last four digits of the Social Security number of the adult signing the application.

Please note: the information on the application for free or reduced-price meals may be verified by the school or other officials at any time during the school year. Additionally, the information households provide will be treated confidentially and will be used only for the eligibility determinations and verification of data. Households may apply for benefits at any time during the school year. Should a household be ineligible now, but at a future date experiences a decrease in household income, an increase in household size, or a household member becomes unemployed, an application should be filled out at that time.

When schools know foster, homeless, migrant, or runaway information, or children enrolled in Head Start/Even Start programs, households will receive a letter of the child’s eligibility for free meals. If a letter is not received, households should fill out an application. Foster children are eligible for free meal or milk benefits regardless of the household income. If a household has foster children living with them and they wish to apply for meals or milk benefits for them, they should contact the school for help with the application.

Children enrolled in the Head Start/Even Start programs, Migrant Education Program, or considered homeless, or runaway by the school district’s migrant/homeless liaison, should contact the school for assistance in receiving benefits.

Under the provisions of the policy, a local school corporation official will review applications and determine eligibility. Households dissatisfied with the ruling of the official may wish to discuss it with the school. In addition, households have the right to a fair hearing which may be initiated by contacting the hearing official in the local school corporation.

For more information regarding the free and reduced-price school meals and milk programs, or to view appropriate forms, please visit: www.doe.in.gov/nutrition/snp-free-and-reduced-price-forms.

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