SALEM, Ore. — For families that need a little assistance, Oregon provides free and reduced-price meals to public school students. But this year, like every other year, the income requirements for those programs has changed somewhat, according to the Oregon Department of Education (ODE).
Under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs (or Special Milk Program, which some schools offer instead of the others), qualifying students receive meals or milk for free or no more than 40 cents.
This year, however, Oregon lawmakers eliminated the charge for reduced-price breakfast and lunch—meaning that breakfast and lunch will be provided for reduced-price students at no charge.
Nonetheless, ODE has provided the income requirements for both levels of the program.
Household Income Guidelines
Participants may qualify for free meals if the household income falls at or below the limits on this chart:
Participants may qualify for reduced price meals if the household income falls at or below the limits on this chart:
Families who receive the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) are automatically eligible for free meals and should receive a letter from their school letting them know that they are eligible.
Schools will also 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).
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