income eligibility guidelines

Income eligibility guidelines for free and reduced-price school meals in Kern County schools.

The Kern County Superintendent of Schools office and all of Kern County’s 47 public school districts are announcing their policy for providing free and reduced-price meals for children served under the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program.

Meal applications will be sent to all households with a letter informing parents or guardians of the availability of free and reduced-price meals. To apply, complete one application for all children in the household and submit to the school for processing. Additional copies are available at the school office.

Households may submit an application at any time during the school year. Information provided on the application will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by school officials.

Children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals if their household income is less than or equal to the Income Eligibility Guidelines, which will be used to determine eligibility for meal benefits. These guidelines are effective July 1 through June 30, 2021.

Households don't need to turn in an application when the household receives a notification letter saying that all children automatically qualify for free meals when any household member receives benefits from CalFresh, CalWORKs or FDPIR. Children who meet the definition of foster, homeless, migrant, or runaway, and children enrolled in their school’s Head Start program are eligible for free meals. Contact school officials if any child in the household is not on the notification letter. The household must let school officials know if they do not want to receive free or reduced-price meals.

If you are not eligible now, but your household income goes down, household size goes up, or a household member starts receiving CalFresh, CalWORKs, or FDPIR, you may turn in an application at that time. Information given on the application will be used to determine eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by school officials. Listing the last four digits of the Social Security number from any adult household member or checking that you do not have a Social Security number is required if you include income on the application.

Households that receive Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals by filling out an application.

Your child’s eligibility status from last school year will continue into the new school year for up to 30 school days or until the school processes your new application or your child is otherwise certified for free or reduced-price meals. After the 30 school days, your child will have to pay full price for meals, unless the household receives a notification letter for free or reduced-price meals. School officials do not have to send reminder or expired eligibility notices.

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