The Lawrence County School System announced Monday its policy for free and reduced-price meals for children served in schools under the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program. Local school officials have adopted the following household size and income criteria for determining eligibility:

Children need healthy meals to learn. Lawrence County schools offer healthy meals every school day. Breakfast costs $1.50 for middle and high school students. Lunch costs $2.35 for middle school students and $2.50 for high school students. 

Your children may qualify for free meals or for reduced price meals. Reduced price is $0.30 for breakfast and $0.40 for lunch. 

Below are some common questions and answers to help you with the application process.

1. WHO CAN GET FREE OR REDUCED PRICE MEALS? 

•All children in households receiving benefits from Alabama SNAP, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), or Alabama TANF are eligible for free meals.

•Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free meals. 

•Children participating in their school’s Head Start program are eligible for free meals.

•Children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant are eligible for free meals.

•Children who are directly certified are eligible to receive free meals.

•When known to the Lawrence County School system, households will be notified of their children's eligibility for free meals based on their participation (or a household member's participation) in an assistance program including SNAP, FDPIR or TANF, if the State program meets Federal standards.

•When known to the Lawrence County School system, households will be notified of any child's eligibility for free meals based on the individual child's designation as Other Categorically Eligible, as defined by law. Children are determined Other Categorially Eligible if they are homeless, migrant, runaway, a foster child, or enrolled in Head Start or an eligible pre-kindergarten program. 

Income eligibility guidelines for 2019-2020 for free meals/milk are household sizes starting at one with a yearly income of $16,237 up to household sizes of eight with a yearly income of $56,459. 

Income eligibility guidelines for reduced priced meals/milk are household sizes starting at one with a yearly income of $23,107 up to household sizes of eight with a yearly income of $80,346.

2. HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILDREN QUALIFY AS HOMELESS, MIGRANT, OR RUNAWAY? Do the members of your household lack a permanent address? Are you staying together in a shelter, hotel, or other temporary housing arrangement? Does your family relocate on a seasonal basis? Are any children living with you who have chosen to leave their prior family or household? If you believe children in your household meet these descriptions and haven’t been told your children will get free meals, please call or e-mail your local school counselor. 

3. DO I NEED TO FILL OUT AN APPLICATION FOR EACH CHILD?  No. Use one Free and Reduced Price School Meals Application for all students in your household. We cannot approve an application that is not complete, so be sure to fill out all required information. Return the completed application to your local school lunchroom manager.

4. SHOULD I FILL OUT AN APPLICATION IF I RECEIVED A LETTER THIS SCHOOL YEAR SAYING MY CHILDREN ARE ALREADY APPROVED FOR FREE MEALS?  No, but please read the letter you got carefully and follow the instructions. If any children in your household were missing from your eligibility notification, contact your local school lunchroom manager immediately.

5. CAN I APPLY ONLINE? Yes! You are encouraged to complete an online application instead of a paper application if you are able. The online application has the same requirements and will ask you for the same information as the paper application. Visit www.ezmealapp.com to begin or to learn more about the online application process. Contact the CNP office at 256-905-2411 or email mchenault@lawrenceal.org if you have any questions about the online application.

6. MY CHILD’S APPLICATION WAS APPROVED LAST YEAR.  DO I NEED TO FILL OUT A NEW ONE?  Yes.  Your child’s application is only good for that school year and for the first few days of this school year, through September 19, 2019.  You must send in a new application unless the school told you that your child is eligible for the new school year. If you do not send in a new application that is approved by the school or you have not been notified that your child is eligible for free meals, your child will be charged the full price for meals.  

7. I GET WIC. CAN MY CHILDREN GET FREE MEALS?  Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced price meals.  Please send in an application.

8. WILL THE INFORMATION I GIVE BE CHECKED? Yes. In accordance with program regulations school officials will be verifying the income of some households at some time during the school year. Selected households will be requested to provide income documentation in order to continue receiving free and reduced-price meals.

9. IF I DON’T QUALIFY NOW, MAY I APPLY LATER? Yes, you may apply at any time during the school year.  For example, children with a parent or guardian who becomes unemployed may become eligible for free and reduced price meals if the household income drops below the income limit. 

10. WHAT IF I DISAGREE WITH THE SCHOOL’S DECISION ABOUT MY APPLICATION? You should talk to school officials. You also may ask for a hearing by calling or writing to: 256-905-2411, mchenault@lawrenceal.org, Lawrence County Board of Education Child Nutrition Program, 14131 Market St., Moulton, AL 35650.

11. MAY I APPLY IF SOMEONE IN MY HOUSEHOLD IS NOT A U.S. CITIZEN? Yes. You, your children, or other household members do not have to be U.S. citizens to apply for free or reduced price meals.  

12. WHAT IF MY INCOME IS NOT ALWAYS THE SAME? List the amount that you normally receive. For example, if you normally make $1,000 each month, but you missed some work last month and only made $900, put down that you made $1,000 per month.  If you normally get overtime, include it, but do not include it if you only work overtime sometimes.  If you have lost a job or had your hours or wages reduced, use your current income.

13. WHAT IF SOME HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS HAVE NO INCOME TO REPORT? Household members may not receive some types of income we ask you to report on the application, or may not receive income at all. Whenever this happens, please write a 0 in the field. However, if any income fields are left empty or blank, those will also be counted as zeroes. Please be careful when leaving income fields blank, as we will assume you meant to do so.

14. DO I HAVE TO PROVIDE MY SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER? Only the last 

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