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How to Know if your Child Qualifies for Free School Lunch09.08.13

School has started across the country and we’re sure you’ve gotten your fair share of paperwork to sign. The National School Lunch Program is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free meals to children each school day—and the application could be in the stack of paperwork you received from your child. So, how do you know if you qualify?

If your household income is at or below 130 percent the poverty level, you’re eligible for free meals. Those with incomes between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for reduced‐price meals. What’s the current federal poverty level? Currently, 130 percent of the poverty level is $30,615 for a family of four; 185 percent is $43,568. Afterschool snacks are provided to children on the same income eligibility basis as school meals.

Also, if you have foster children, receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), you are eligible to receive free lunches for your children. In addition, taxpayers who recently lost their job or suffered a dramatic reduction in income qualify for reduced lunches.

If you have questions on determining your income, your local Jackson Hewitt Tax Pros can help!