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Income Guidelines Released for Families Applying for Free and Reduced-Priced Lunches

BOISE – Families interested in applying for free and reduced-price meals can now view income guidelines and apply for the 2022-2023 school year.

The upcoming school year will be the first time since 2020 that families need to apply in order to receive free or reduced-price meals in schools operating the National School Lunch Program and for free milk in schools operating the Special Milk Program. Eligible families are encouraged to apply to ensure their children’s access to healthy meals this school year.

Eligibility for the program is determined by household size and income. Qualifying students receive meals or milk without charge or may pay a reduced price of no more than 40 cents for lunch and 30 cents for breakfast:

https://www.sde.idaho.gov/communications/files/news-releases/08-04-2022-Income-guidelines-for-2022-2023-free-and-reduced-price-lunch-applications-released.pdf
https://www.sde.idaho.gov/communications/files/news-releases/08-04-2022-Income-guidelines-for-2022-2023-free-and-reduced-price-lunch-applications-released.pdf

Categorically eligible students, such as those whose families participate in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Families in Idaho (TAFI), and Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) are eligible for free and reduced-price meals. Additionally, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) participants may also be eligible.

In August, households receiving SNAP and TAFI benefits should look for a letter from their school advising them of their eligibility and automatic enrollment in the program – no other application or verification is required for these households. Households with children in Head Start, homeless or runaway education, migrant education, or court-ordered foster care programs will also be notified of their eligibility. Children in eligible households may receive free benefits regardless of their immigration status.

All households that do not receive notification of eligibility can complete a confidential application for free or reduced-price meals and/or free milk. Parents should contact the district their children attend to fill out an application. To find your district, go to https://www.idaho.gov/education/school-districts/. The contact information for each district will be listed on their website. Families only need to submit one application per household, even if their children attend more than one school in the district. Once deemed eligible, households will remain so for the entire school year. An application must be resubmitted at the beginning of each year.

Parents and guardians who become unemployed may also be eligible for free or reduced-price lunches during their period of unemployment, provided that the loss of income causes the household income to reach qualifying thresholds. Applications can be submitted at any time during the school year, but parents are encouraged to apply before the beginning of the school year to ensure their students’ access to free, nutritious meals.

Families will be notified by the district if their school is operating a Special Provision Option, such as Provision 2 or CEP, which provides free breakfasts and/or lunches to all students.

Families notified of their children’s eligibility must contact the school if they choose to decline the free meal benefits. Families who have not received notification of eligibility may apply for benefits by completing a confidential application for free or reduced-price meals or free milk. An official at the school will review the confidential application and determine eligibility.

An application cannot be approved unless it contains the following information:

• A Food Stamp, SNAP, or TAFI case number (not Medicaid) for each child or an indication that the household is receiving FDPIR and the signature of an adult household member.
OR
• The names of all household members, the amount and source of income received by each household member in the prior month, the signature of an adult household member, the actual number of household members, and the last four digits of the Social Security number of the adult household member who signs the application (or an indication that the signor has no social security number).

Information on the application may be verified at any time during the school year. Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the ruling of the school official who determines eligibility may discuss the decision with the official. Parents wishing to make a formal appeal may make a written or oral request to the school’s food service hearing officer (contact the school food service office for the name, address, and phone number of the officer) for a hearing on the decision.

In the operation of USDA child feeding programs, no child will be discriminated against because of race, sex, color, national origin, age, or disability.