MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE
Communications Office, (404) 651-7358, email@example.com
Meghan Frick, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 656-5594, firstname.lastname@example.org
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1, 2014 –
The Georgia Department of
Education announced today the 2014-15 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy
for free and reduced-price meals for children in Georgia’s schools. The USDA’s
school meals programs help ensure all students have access to nutritious meals.
“It is important to provide our
students with healthy, nutritious meals to help improve their chances of
success and increase their learning opportunities,” School Nutrition Director
Nancy Rice said. “Research indicates that eating habits affect learning. We
want to ensure all our children are well nourished and ready to learn.”
Frequently asked questions about free
and reduced-price meals:
How do I apply? You should receive an application from
your child’s school. If not, please contact the school directly.
Do I need to fill out an application
for each of my children? No,
you only need one application for all students in your household.
Who can get free meals? All children in households receiving
benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary
Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) can get free meals regardless of your
income. Also, your children can get free meals if your household’s gross income
is within the free limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines (please
see chart at the end of this document).
NOTE: If you have received a NOTICE
OF DIRECT CERTIFICATION for free meals, do not complete an application, but
do let the school know if any children in your household are not listed on the
Notice of Direct Certification letter you received.
Can foster children get free meals? Yes, foster children that are under
the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free
Can homeless, runaway, Head Start, and
migrant children get free meals? Yes,
children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant are eligible
for free meals. If you believe children in your household meet these
descriptions and you haven’t been told your children will get free meals,
please call or e-mail your child’s school.
Who can get reduced-price meals? Your children can get reduced-price
meals if your household is within the reduced price limits on the Federal
Income Eligibility Chart shown below.
If Family Income is Within
If Family Income is Within
ADDITIONAL FAMILY MEMBER, ADD $5,278 PER YEAR TO THE INCOME LEVEL FOR
FREE MEALS AND $7,511 TO THE INCOME
LEVEL FOR REDUCED PRICE (RED. PR.) MEALS.
Should I fill out an application if I
get a letter this school year saying my children are approved for free or
reduced-price meals? No,
but please read the letter carefully and follow the instructions, or call your
local School Nutrition Program Director if you have questions.
My child’s application was approved
last year. Do I need to fill out another one? Yes, a new application is required each school year.
Your child’s application last year was only good for the 2013-14 school year
and for the first few days of this 2014-15 school year.
I get WIC. Can my children get free
meals? Yes, children
in households participating in WIC may be eligible free or reduced-price meals.
Please send in an application.
Will the information I give be
checked? Yes, and we
may also ask you to send written proof.
If I do not qualify now, may I apply
later? Yes, you may
apply at any time during the school year. For example, children with a parent
or guardian who becomes unemployed may become eligible for free and
reduced-price meals if the household income drops below the income limit.
What if I disagree with the school’s
decision about my application? You
should speak with school officials. You also may ask for a hearing to have the
May I apply if someone in my household
is not a U. S. citizen? Yes,
you or your children do not have to be U.S. citizens to qualify for free or
Who should I include as members of my
household? You must
include all people living in your household, related or not (such as
grandparents, other relatives, or friends) who share income and expenses. You
must include yourself and all children who are living with you. If you live
with other people who are economically independent (for example, people whom
you do not support, whom do not share income with you or your children, and
whom pay a pro-rated share of expenses), do not include them.
What if my income is not always the
same? List the amount
that you consistently receive. For instance, if you consistently make $1000
each month, but you only made $900 last month due to an unexpected reduction in
hours, please include the normal about of $1000 per month. If you consistently
get overtime, please also include it. If you have lost a job or had your hours
or wages reduced, please use your current income.
We are in the military. Do we include
our housing allowance as income? If
you get an off-base housing allowance, it must be included as income. However,
if your housing is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, do
not include your housing allowance as income.
My spouse is deployed to a combat
zone. Is their combat pay counted as income? No, if the combat pay is received in addition to basic
pay and it was not received before he/she was deployed, combat pay is not
counted as income.
My family needs more help. Are there
other programs we might apply for? For
more information on the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast
Program, contact Nancy Rice, Director of the School Nutrition Division of the
Georgia Department of Education, at email@example.com
or at (404) 651-6600. For more information on applying for SNAP, or other
assistance benefits, visit http://georgia.gov/popular-topic/applying-food-stamps
For more information on School Meals
Eligibility contact Theresa Latta at firstname.lastname@example.org
or Matoshia Grant at email@example.com