Each year, the Oregon Department of Education announces income guidelines that allow students to qualify for free or reduced price meals.

The guidelines are determined by U.S. Department of Agriculture and are the same for schools operating the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.

Schools that do not offer these programs may offer the Special Milk Program, which includes free milk to eligible students using the below guidelines.

Under these federal programs, qualifying students receive meals or milk without charge or may pay a reduced price of no more than 40 cents for lunch. However, the Oregon Legislature provided funding to eliminate the reduced price payment for School Breakfast and Lunch so for the 2019-20 school year, breakfast and lunch will be accessible at no charge to students who qualify for reduced price meals.

Household income guidelines

Participants may qualify for free meals if the household income falls at or below the limits on this chart:

Children in households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations are eligible for free meals. Households receiving SNAP or TANF benefits will be directly certified to receive free meal or milk benefits by a letter from their school advising them of their eligibility for free meal or milk benefits. Schools will accept the DHS notice/certification letter from students as proof of eligibility for free meals or milk. No other application or verification of eligibility is required for students directly certified.

When known, the household will be notified of any child’s eligibility for free meals if the individual child is receiving educational support through migrant education, homeless or runaway education, Head Start or is in foster care.

Households notified of their children’s eligibility must contact the school if the household chooses to decline the free meal benefits.

Households not directly certified may complete 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. Children in eligible households may receive meal benefits regardless of immigration status. Applications may be submitted anytime during the year. Information provided on an application may be verified at any time during the school year. An application cannot be approved unless it contains the following information:

A SNAP or TANF case number 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 and the last four digits of the social security number of the adult household member who signs the application (or a statement that the person has no Social Security number).

Formal appeals

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 hearings officer (contact the school for the name, address, and phone number of the officer) for a hearing on the decision.

A secure web-based version of the National School Lunch/School Breakfast Programs Household Application for Free or Reduced Price Meals is available statewide for households to apply for meal benefits. All applications are reviewed by the appropriate sponsor/school district nutrition office for approval.

In accordance with federal civil rights law and USDA civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the agency where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

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