New guidelines for free lunch programs

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POLK COUNTY — The Oregon Department of Education announced the guidelines that allow students to qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

Guidelines are determined by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and are the same for schools operating the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.

Schools that do not offer these programs may offer the Special Milk Program, which includes free milk to eligible students using the below guidelines.

Under these federal programs, qualifying students receive meals or milk without charge or may pay a reduced price of no more than 40 cents for lunch. However, the Oregon Legislature provided funding to eliminate the reduced-price payment for school breakfast and lunch so for the 2018-19 school year, breakfast and lunch will be accessible at no charge to students who qualify for reduced price meals.

Participants may qualify for free meals if the household income falls at or below the limits on this chart:

Household size and annual inconme requirements:

One —$15,782

Two —$21,398

Three — $27,014

Four — $32,630

Five — $38,246

Six — $43,862

Seven — $49,478

Eight — $55,094

Each additional family member: $5,616.

Children in households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) are eligible for free meals. Households receiving SNAP or TANF benefits will be directly certified to receive free meal or milk benefits by a letter from their school advising them of their eligibility for free meal or milk benefits.

Schools will 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.

For more information about free school lunch:

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