Free and Reduced-Price Meals Eligibility and FAQ
Eligibility guidelines for free and reduced-price meals are available on the National School Lunch Program website. Answers to commonly asked questions are available below.
No, you only need one application for all students in your household.
All children in households receiving benefits from SNAP or Families First can get free meals regardless of your income. Also, your children can get free meals if your household’s gross income is within the free limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines.
Yes, foster children who are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court, are eligible for free meals. Any foster child in the household is eligible for free meals regardless of income.
Yes, children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant qualify for free meals. Check with your school, the homeless liaison, or migrant coordinator for more information and to see if your children qualify.
Your children can get low cost meals if your household is within the reduced-price limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines.
Should I fill out an application if I get a letter this school year saying your children are approved for free or reduced-price meals?
Read the letter carefully and follow the instructions, or call your local School Nutrition Program Director.
Yes, your child’s application is only good for that school year and for the first few days of this school year. You must send in a new application unless the school told you that your child is eligible for the new school year.
Your children may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals, but you will need to fill out an application.
Yes, and you may also be asked to send written proof.
Yes, you may apply at any time during the school year. Children with a parent or guardian who becomes unemployed may become eligible for free and reduced-price meals if the household income drops below the income limit.
You should talk to school officials, or you may also ask for a hearing by calling or writing school officials.
Yes, neither you nor your children have to be U.S. citizens to qualify for free or reduced-price meals.
You must include all people living in your household, related or not (such as grandparents, other relatives, or friends) who share income and expenses. You must include yourself and all children who live with you. If you live with other people who are economically independent, do not include them.
You must list the amount that you normally receive. If you normally get overtime, include it. But if you do not normally get it, do not include it. If you have lost a job or had your hours or wages reduced, use your current income.
If I am in the military, do I include my housing allowance as income?
If you get an off-base housing allowance, you must include it as income. If your housing is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, do not include your housing allowance as income.
No, if the combat pay is received in addition to the basic pay because of deployment and it was not received before the deployment, combat pay is not counted as income.