USDA Continues Waivers For Free & Reduced-Price Meals For Schools

By Benjamin Cox on September 1, 2020 at 7:19am

The Illinois State Board of Education has released updated eligibility guidelines for free and reduced-price meals for school this year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture sets the policy for each fiscal year to reflect any changes in the federal poverty guidelines. The updated guidelines went into effect on July 1st.

Families can apply for the program at any time during the school year, especially if they experience a drastic reduction to income. Households need only request a Household Eligibility Application from their child’s school to apply.

In the updated rules, the USDA extended waivers through the end of this school year to provide flexibility to school districts to provide meals. The waivers allow for the establishment of grab-and-go meal sites, serving meals for multiple days at one time, delivery, and for parents and guardians to pick up meals on behalf of their students. Students who receive free meals must meet 130% of the Federal Poverty guideline, for example a family of 3 can only make $28, 236 per year. A family of 3 is eligible for reduced-price meals if they receive $40,182 annually or 185% of the Federal Poverty guideline. All SNAP, WIC, and TANF households are automatically eligible.

Families with questions about eligibility should contact their school or district for more information.