Income-Eligibility Guidelines for Free School Meals

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service has updated the income-eligibility guidelines for meals served at schools and day care programs based on federal poverty levels.

The new income guidelines – effective July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020 – apply to student eligibility for free and reduced-price school meals offered through the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs and milk offered through the Special Milk Program, along with reimbursement for meals served in day-care centers and family child-care homes participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

The guidelines establish that students in a household of four, with an income of $33,475 per year or less, qualify for free school meals. If a family’s yearly income is between $33,475.01 and $47,638, children can receive reduced-price meals. The state’s participating public and private schools and day-care centers typically provide applications for free and reduced-price school meals during registration and early in the school year, but applications may be submitted at any time. Only one application is required per household.More information on eligibility is available at