FDACS announced guidelines for free and
reduced-price School Meal Programs
Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness announced household size and income guidelines for free and reduced-price meals and free milk under the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, and Special Milk Programs. Children from households that meet the federal guidelines on household size and income are eligible for free or reduced-price meals or free milk.
“Ensuring that all children in Florida have access to fresh, healthy foods remains one of my top priorities,” said Commissioner Nikki Fried. “I’m proud that our partnership with USDA serves free and reduced-price school meals to nearly three million children in Florida, providing dependable nutrition that helps students stay focused and succeed academically.”
The following household size and income criteria will be used for determining eligibility:
INCOME ELIGIBILITY GUIDELINES*
EFFECTIVE FROM JULY 1, 2021 TO JUNE 30, 2022
*For the 48 contiguous United States, District of Columbia, Guam and territories
Application forms are being provided to all homes with a letter to parents or guardians. To apply for free or reduced-price benefits, households must complete the application as soon as possible, sign it, and return it to the school. One application should be submitted for all the students enrolled in the school food authority. 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 is:
SNAP/TANF HOUSEHOLDS: If a household currently receives Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or "Temporary Assistance for Needy Families" (TANF) for any child or other household member, they need only to list the child's name and SNAP or TANF case number and sign the application.
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: (1) the names of all household members, (2) 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, (3) the signature of an adult household member, and (4) the last four numbers of the Social Security number of the adult signing the application.
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.
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. If a household is not eligible now, but has 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.
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 Program or the Migrant Education Program or who are considered homeless or runaway by the school district’s homeless liaison should contact the school for assistance in receiving benefits.
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