Why should I fill out the Application for Free or Reduced Price Meals?
The information on the application is used in determining other sources of funding for your children’s schools. Without this information, funding for educational staff and supplies could be lost. Additionally, income guidelines are updated annually. The only way to know if you qualify for benefits is to fill out the application.
What benefits would my family receive if my child qualifies for free or reduced-priced meals?
There are several benefits:
- Various companies and organizations may offer discounts to families who qualify. Fee waivers for Standardized Tests, such as AP Tests, the SAT, or the ACT, are available for students who are approved for free or reduced-price meals. There may also be reduced fees for college applications.
- Students with a free or reduced status automatically qualify for benefits through emergency relief programs, such as P-EBT, when available.
- There is a 30-day carryover into the following school year, which means your child will not incur meal charges for the first 30 days of school, giving you more time to submit the new meal application.
Who qualifies for free or reduced-priced meals?
Several groups of students qualify:
- All children in households receiving benefits from SNAP or TANF are eligible for free meals.
- Foster children under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free meals.
- Children participating in their school’s Head Start program are eligible for free meals.
- Children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant are eligible for free meals.
- Children may receive free or reduced-price meals if your household’s income is within limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines.
Do I need to fill out an application every year?
Yes. Free or reduced price statuses only last one school year. A new meal application must be submitted each school year.
What is the easiest and fastest way to complete a meal application?
Some of the information that I submitted on the application has changed. Should I submit a new application?
Yes. If there has been a recent change in your family information, such as a decrease in income, an increase in the number of people in your household, or a child receiving SNAP or TANF, please submit a new meal application.
Who do I include in my application?
Every member of your household may be listed, including young children not yet enrolled in school and additional people living in your home. If this number changes, please fill out a new application.
My family needs more help. Are there other programs we might apply for?
The DFCS Customer Contact Center can help you understand the benefits available to you. Please call 1-877-423-4746.