- What is the School Meal Program?
- Who can get free or reduced-price meals from the School Meal Program?
- Are there any asset limits for the School Meal Program?
- If I already get Food Support, MFIP or FDPIR, or if I have a foster child, do I have to apply to get help?
- How do I get an application?
- When can I apply?
- What is the application like?
- What else do I have to do to apply?
- What happens after I turn in the application?
- How long can I be on the School Meal Program until I have to apply again?
- Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to get help from the School Meal Program?
- I am an immigrant. If I get help from the School Meal Program, am I a public charge?
- Can I get help paying for breakfast also?
- Does it matter how long I have lived in Minnesota to get help?
- Do all schools have the School Meal Program?
- Will other kids know that my child is getting a free or reduced-price meal?
Children attending public and private schools grades K-12. All foster children can get free meals. If your family is getting
help from Food Support (stamps), MFIP, or FDPIR (Food Distribution
Program on Indian Reservations), you can get free meals. Otherwise,
if you are not on these programs, your family has to have an income
below the limits to get help. Some families can get free meals and
others can get a reduced (lower) price on their meals. The most you
will pay for a reduced-price lunch is 40 cents.
No. This program does not look at your assets to see if you can get
help. (Assets are money in a checking or savings account or other
things of value that you or your family own.)
Maybe. If you are on these programs, you may get a letter in August
that says you are already going to get free meals. If you don’t get a
letter, or if the letter doesn’t cover all of your children, you will
have to apply to get help. If you get Food Support, MFIP or FDPIR, when
you fill out the School Meal application you only have to write in the
names of your children and your case number(s) and sign your name. If
you are applying for a foster child, you only have to write the child’s
name and the amount of foster care money for personal use, and sign
your name. You have to fill out a seperate application for each foster
You can pick one up in the office at your child’s school. It may be
mailed to your household during the summer with other school papers. It
the “Application for Educational Benefits.” The application is
available in English, Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Khmer (Cambodian),
Laotian, Vietnamese, Arabic and Russian. You can also get an
this website by clicking here
You can apply at any time during the school year. Applications are not
accepted during the
summer. If you intend to enroll your child in the program, you must
wait until the school year begins to submit your application. Even if
your child was enrolled before, you must fill out a new application
each school year.
If your income goes down, or
your household size goes up, you may be able to get help — even if you
didn’t qualify for help before.
It is one page long. It will ask for the names of all the children and
adults in your household and how much money they make each month. The
adult who fills out the application also has to write his or her Social
Security Number. If you don’t have a Social Security Number, you can
say that and your family can still get help.
Just turn in your application in to the school office. A small group of
people will be asked to show proof of their income. The school may also
check to make sure the information you gave them is correct.
The school will send you a letter to let you know if you qualify for help.
You will find out in about two weeks.
Once you are on the program, your child can get free or reduced-price meals all school year. Some schools also cover 30 days into the next
school year. You will have to apply again every year. If your income or
household size changes during the year, you do not have to tell the
No. Even if you, your children, or other people living with you are not U.S. citizens, you can still get help.
No. You are not a public charge if you use the School Meal Program. Schools cannot tell USCIS (INS) if you get help.
Some schools also have a breakfast program. If your child gets free or
reduced-priced lunches, he or she will also get free breakfast if your
school offers breakfast. You do not have to apply again for breakfast.
No. The school has to make sure no one can tell who is getting a free or reduced-price meal.