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Free and Reduced Price Eligibility Presented by Theresa Jinky Romero Health Educator NM Coordinated School Health & Wellness Bureau. Part I Administration and Program Overview. USDA released an updated version of the Eligibility Manual for School Meals in August 2013.

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Free and Reduced Price Eligibility

  • Presented by
  • Theresa Jinky Romero Health Educator NM Coordinated School Health & Wellness Bureau
part i administration and program overview
Part I Administration and Program Overview
  • USDA released an updated version of the Eligibility Manual for School Meals in August 2013.
  • The current Eligibility Manual can be downloaded from
  • School Nutrition Programs are Administered by
    • UDSA
    • FNS
sfa vs lea

School Food Authority

Local Educational Agency

  • SFA – School Food Authority
  • Governing body responsible for the administration of one or more schools
  • Has legal authority to operate a Program
  • LEA – Local Educational Agency
  • Governing body responsible for certifying and verifying F/RP school meal eligibility
policy statement
Policy Statement
  • Required for participation
  • Avoid any practice that has the effect of overtly identifying children receiving meal benefits
  • Policy statement must include civil rights statement
  • Includes procedures for an appeal and fair hearing procedure
  • The policy statement can be amended only for significant change occurs within the LLEA
public release
Public Release
  • Near the beginning of each school year the LEA
    • Must notify the public that the NSLP, SBP, and/or SMP is available.
    • Must include information that households receiving SNAP, or FRPIR must be notified to their eligibility.
    • Must include the eligibility criteria for free and reduced priced meals.
    • The release must be provided to local news media, the local employment office
    • Copies must also be made available upon request to any interested individuals.
application and supporting materials
Application and Supporting Materials
  • Application and supporting materials must be clear and simple in design.
  • Must be in a language that parents & guardians can understand in order to diminish language barriers to participation
  • Foreign language translations & USDA prototypes can be found at
letter to parents
Letter to Parents
  • Must be distributed to households of all students at the beginning of the school year.
  • Must be sent out with the applications
    • Either by postal service, email or information packet provided to students.
  • You may use the prototype letter provided by USDA or one of your own but the information must contain all the required elements listed in the eligibility manual.
informing households
Informing Households
  • LEAs may not accept or process application prior to July 1
  • Year-round schools usually follow the July 1- June 30 school year
  • Households enrolling new students after the start of the school year must be provided an information letter and application when they enroll.
other source categorically eligible
Other Source Categorically Eligible
  • Children are automatically eligible for free meal benefits based on participation in one of the following programs.
    • Federal Head Start Program
    • Enrolled in Even Start (must be at the Per-K Level)
    • Determined Homeless
    • Determined Migrant
    • Determined Runaway
    • Foster Child

NOTE:A Child’s eligibility for free meals under Other Source Categorically Eligible does not extend to any other child in the household.


Children who reside in “ Assistance Program Households” which include SNAP, FDPIR and TANF

  • are categorically eligible
  • and this eligibility can extend to other children in the household.
other situations
Other Situations
  • Residential Child Care Institutions
    • Each child household of one
    • Not residing in the institution - application or direct cert.
    • Residing in the institution – Application or eligibility documentation sheet.
preventing overt identification
Preventing Overt Identification
  • LEAs are not required to provide applications to households fo directly certified students.
  • However, LEAs must ensure that children directly certified are not overly identified in the distribution processs.
income eligibility
Income Eligibility
  • Determining Household composition and income
  • Economic Unit- A group of related or unrelated individuals who are not residents of an institution or boarding house but who are living as one economic unit and who share housing and/or significant income and expenses of the members.
  • Separate economic units - May reside in the same house when expenses are prorate and they are economically independent from one another.
income to report
Income to report
  • Earning from work before deductions
    • Current Income
  • Child’s income should the child who is a full time or regular part time employee
  • Welfare/Child Support/Alimony
  • Retirement/Disability
processing applications
Processing Applications
  • Benefits Prior to Processing
    • LEAs must carry over eligibility status from the previous year for any child who:
      • Had an approved application from the previous year
      • Is a new student from a household with children approved the previous year, unless the sibling was Other Source Categorically Eligible
      • Was previously approved and transfers to another schools within the same LEA
application processing
Application Processing
  • Application must be reviewed in a timely manner
    • An eligibility determinations must be made and implemented within 10 working days of the receipt of the application.
    • Date Stamp all applications to insure 10 day processing time.
    • Households should be notified immediately if benefits are denied or reduced from the level of previous year.
income received
Income Received
  • Total all sources and compare to the appropriate Income Eligibility Guideline (IEG)- weekly , monthly, annually, twice per month or every two weeks.
  • Note: If there are multiple income sources with more than one frequency, annualize all income by multiplying .
    • Weekly income by 52
    • Bi-weekly (every 2 weeks) by 26
    • Bi-monthly ( twice per month) by 24
    • Monthly by 12

Add all un-rounded converted value and compare IEG for annual income for the household size.

complete income application
Complete Income Application
  • Names of all household members
  • Amount, source, and frequency of current gross income by each household member, or indication of no income
  • Signature of adult household member
  • The last FOUR digits of the SSN of the adult signing the application or an indication that they do not have one.
snap fdpir applications
SNAP/FDPIR Applications
  • Required information:
    • Student name(s)
    • Name of person receiving benefits
    • SNAP/FDPIR number
    • Signature of adult household member

SNAP Case Number

Alpha numeric – 7 total

In NM all begin with _____

The EBT card number cannot be used

FDPIR case numbers

9 total digits – All numeric

other source categorically eligibility
Other Source Categorically Eligibility
  • Required Information
    • Students name
    • Indication of child’s categorical eligibility
    • Signature of adult household member

Applications for students who are classified as:

Migrant Homeless Runaway

Foster Child(ren)

  • Required Information
    • Students name
    • Indication of child’s categorical eligibility
    • Signature of adult household member
complete applications
Complete Applications
  • The LEA cannot delay the approval of the application for non-required information that is missing.
    • Missing address
    • Missing phone number, and
    • Date next to the adult signature
incomplete applications
Incomplete Applications
  • Any application that is missing required information, that contains inconsistent information, or is unclear is considered an incomplete applications and cannot be processed.
  • LEA should make every reasonable effort to obtain missing information prior to denying the application.
notification of eligibility determination
Notification of Eligibility Determination

Households that are approved for free

Or reduced benefits may be informed in writing

Or verbally

Households denied benefits must be given:

Written notice must include:

Reason for the denial

The right to appeal

Instructions on how to appeal

A statement that the family may reapply at anytime during

the school year.

On the applications LEA officials must:

Idicate denial date

Indicate reason for denial

Indicate date denial notice was sent

Sign or initial application