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Income Limits for Free or Reduced-Price School Meals

Thursday, July 29th, 2021 -- 9:02 AM

(WBAY) Families will have to fall under certain income limits for their children to qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches, breakfasts and milk programs in the upcoming school year.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction says the guidelines from the USDA this year set the annual income limit at $34,450 for a family of four to receive free meals. In 2019, the income limit was $25 higher.

A family of four earning more than $34,450 up to $49,025 can receive discounted meals. That’s $1,387 higher than the 2019 limit for reduced-price school meals and milk. Income guidelines are based on the federal poverty level, which in 2021 is $26,500 for a household of four.

These guidelines apply to participating public and private schools and daycares. Families can apply through their school or day care. Each household only needs to apply once.

Families enrolled in some state programs may be automatically eligible for school meal benefits, including (but not limited to) the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or FoodShare, children enrolled in Head Start, foster and homeless programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or Wisconsin Works Cash Assistance in Wisconsin.

Summer lunches provided by schools and participating day cares will continue to be free for the remainder of the summer under an extension of the national school lunch and breakfast programs.


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