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Free, reduced price meal policy announced


The Delaware Department of Education today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture policy for free and reduced price meals for children unable to pay the full price for meals served under the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and After School Snack Program. Participating schools and their administrative offices have copies of the policy that may be reviewed by any interested party.


Meal benefit forms will be sent home with a letter to families. To apply for free or reduced price meals, families should fill out the form for their households and return to the school.  The information provided on the form will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by program officials.


For program officials to determine eligibility, a household receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and/or Delaware Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (DE-TANF) must list the child’s name, the SNAP and/or DE-TANF case number, and provide a signature and name of the adult household member.  A household not receiving SNAP and/or DE-TANF must list: names of all household members, the amount of the gross income for each household member received last month, the income source and how often received, the signature of an adult household member, and that adult’s last four digits of social security number or the word “none” or “No Social Security Number” box marked if the adult does not have a Social Security Number.  The meal benefit form may be submitted at any time during the school year.


Under the provisions of the free and reduced price policy, the school nutrition services supervisor will review the form and determine eligibility. Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the ruling of the official may discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis. Parents or guardians wishing to make a formal appeal may make a request either orally or in writing to the administrative office for a hearing on the decision.


Children who are enrolled in Head Start or are homeless, migrant, runaway or in foster care are eligible for free school meal benefits. In certain instances, children receiving WIC (Women, Infants and Children) benefits may also be eligible. Parents or guardians wishing to apply should follow the instructions on the form or contact their school for more information.


Households may report changes or reapply for meal benefits at any time during the school year. The information provided by the household is confidential and will be used only for purposes of determining eligibility and verifying data.


The Delaware Department of Education is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Alison May
(302) 735-4006