News

For Immediate Release
July 29, 2013

National School Lunch and School Breakfast Guidelines Set for 2013-14 School Year


Illinois has seen increase in children eligible for free and reduced lunch

The Illinois State Board of Education established its policy for free and reduced-price lunch, breakfast and after-school snacks for those students unable to pay the full price for meals and snacks under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. The policy, effective at the start of the fiscal year July 1, sets the guidelines for schools as they prepare to welcome back students to the classroom next month.

From 2003 to 2012, students eligible for free or reduced priced lunch increased from 42.7 percent to 53.6 percent, meaning about 1 million students in Illinois public and private schools now qualify for a free or reduced lunch.

“We know that more children across the state are living in families that are struggling to make ends meet,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “The federal breakfast and lunch program gives these students a fighting chance with nutritionally-balanced meals so that they can focus on school and learning.”

The following chart lists the household size and income criteria will be used for determining eligibility.

Income Eligibility Guidelines
Effective from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014
 
Free Meals
130% Federal Poverty Guideline
 
Reduced-Price Meals
185% Federal Poverty Guideline
Household Size
Annual
Monthly
Twice Per Month
Every Two Weeks
Weekly
Household Size
Annual
Monthly
Twice Per Month
Every Two Weeks
Weekly
1
14,937
1,245
623
575
288
1
21,257
1,772
886
818
409
2
20,163
1,681
841
776
388
2
28,694
2,392
1,196
1,104
552
3
25,389
2,116
1,058
977
489
3
36,131
3,011
1,506
1,390
695
4
30,615
2,552
1,276
1,178
589
4
43,568
3,631
1,816
1,676
838
5
35,841
2,987
1,494
1,379
690
5
51,005
4,251
2,126
1,962
981
6
41,067
3,423
1,712
1,580
790
6
58,442
4,871
2,436
2,248
1,124
7
46,293
3,858
1,929
1,781
891
7
65,879
5,490
2,745
2,534
1,267
8
51,519
4,294
2,147
1,982
991
8
73,316
6,110
3,055
2,820
1,410
For each additional family member, add
5,226
436
218
201
101
For each additional family member, add
7,437
620
310
287
144

Children from households that meet Federal guidelines are eligible for free or reduced-price meal services. Complete one application per household for all children that attend the same school district.

All meals served must meet the U. S. Department of Agriculture meal requirements. However, if a child has been determined by a doctor to have a disability and the disability would prevent the child from eating the regular school meal, this school will make substitutions prescribed by the doctor. If a substitution is needed, there will be no extra charge for the meal. If you believe your child needs substitutions because of a disability, please contact the school for further information.

Application forms are being sent to all homes with a letter to parents or guardians. To apply for free or reduced-price meal services, households must complete the application as soon as possible, sign it, and return it to the school. Additional copies of the application form are available in the principal’s office in each school. Households should answer all applicable questions on the form. An application which does not contain all the required information cannot be processed and approved by the school. Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) participants may be eligible for free/reduced-price meals and are encouraged to complete an application for meal benefits.

The required information is as follows:

SNAP/TANF HOUSEHOLDS: If the school provided you a letter that stated your child(ren) is eligible for free meals via the direct certification process, you do not have to complete this application to receive free meal benefits. Households that currently receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) for their child(ren), only have to list the child(ren)’s name and at least one SNAP or TANF case number and sign the application. If at least one SNAP/TANF case number is provided for any household member, then all children listed on the application are categorically eligible for free meals. Applications listing LINK card numbers cannot be used for free or reduced-price meals.

ALL OTHER HOUSEHOLDS: If a household’s income is at or below the level shown on the income scale, children are eligible for either free or reduced-price meal services. Households must provide the following information: (1) the names of all household members; (2) the last four digits of the social security number of the adult household member signing the application, or indicate if the adult does not have a social security number; (3) the amount of income each household member received last month, how frequently it is paid, and where it came from (wages, child support, etc.); and (4) the signature of an adult household member.

The information on the application may be checked by school or other officials at any time during the school year.

Households may apply for benefits at any time during the school year. Households that are not eligible now but have a decrease in household income, an increase in household size, or a household member becomes unemployed, should fill out an application at that time.

Homeless, migrant, runaway youth, Head Start and foster care children, are categorically eligible for free meals. Please follow instructions and return form to school.

Households that do not agree with the ruling of the official may wish to discuss it with the school. Households also have the right to a fair hearing.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal and, where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.) If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at program.intake@usda.gov. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339 or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


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