The Orange Public School District announced today its policy for determining eligibility of children who may receive free or reduced-price meals served under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
For school year 2021-22, the Orange Public School District has opted to participate in the Seamless Summer Option of the NSLP. Therefore, all student meals offered will be free of charge for this school year. However, in order to determine if students are eligible for other benefits such as Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) (as applicable), households that are not directly certified are encouraged to complete and submit a free and reduced-price school meal application.
Local school officials have adopted the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Income Eligibility Guidelines (IEGs) for family size and income criteria for determining eligibility. The following income guidelines will be used in Connecticut from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022, for determining eligibility of participants for free and reduced-price meals and free milk in the Child Nutrition Programs.
The income calculations above are based on the following formulas:
- monthly income is calculated by dividing the annual income by 12;
- twice monthly income is computed by dividing annual income by 24;
- income received every two weeks is calculated by dividing annual income by 26; and
- weekly income is computed by dividing annual income by 52.
All numbers are rounded upward to the next whole dollar.
Students residing in households with income at or below the levels shown in the chart above are eligible for free or reduced price meals or free milk. Information on how to apply will be included in the eBlast Welcome Letter emailed to each student household in August. To apply for free or reduced-price meals, households should fill out the application and return it to the school. Applications are available online at www.oess.org under the Food Services page. Households can also request an application be mailed or emailed by contacting Cindy Maltais, (203) 891-8020 x1208, firstname.lastname@example.org. Only one application is required per household and an application for free or reduced-price benefits cannot be approved unless it contains complete eligibility information as indicated on the application and instructions.
The information provided on the application is confidential and will be used only for the purposes of determining eligibility and for administration and enforcement of the lunch and P-EBT programs. Additionally, all school-aged students in income eligible households can receive school meal benefits regardless of a student’s immigration status, and the district/school does
not release information for immigration-related purposes in the usual course of operating the CNPs. Note that the district may share your eligibility information with education, health, social service, and nutrition programs to help them evaluate, fund, or determine benefits for their programs, auditors for program reviews, and law enforcement officials to help them look into violations of program rules. This information may also be verified at any time during the school year by school or other program officials. Applications may be submitted at any time during the year.
For up to 30 operating days into the new school year, eligibility from the previous year will continue within the same local educational agency (LEA). When the carry-over period ends, unless the household is notified that the students are directly certified or the household submits an application that is approved, the students lunch status will be changed to full pay.
However, this will not affect school year 2021-2022 since the district is implementing the SSO for SY 2021-22 which allows meals to be served free of charge to all students through June 2022.
No application is required if the district directly certifies a student based on a household member receiving assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Temporary Family Assistance (TFA) program. All students in these households are eligible for free meal benefits. Households receiving assistance under the SNAP/TFA programs will be notified of their eligibility and students residing in the household will be provided free benefits unless the household notifies the determining official that it chooses to decline benefits. If any students were not listed on the eligibility notice, the
household should contact the district or school to have free meal benefits extended to those students. Households receiving SNAP or TFA benefits for their children should only submit an application if they are not notified of their eligibility by September 30, 2021.
Some students mqy be directly certified for free or reduced-price meals based on Medicaid (HUSKY A). No application is required if the district directly certifies a student based on Medicaid (HUSKY A). All students in these households are eligible for free or reduced-priced meal benefits. Households receiving assistance under Medicaid (HUSKY A) will be notified of their eligibility and their children will be provided free or reduced-price benefits accordingly, unless the household notifies the determining official that it chooses to decline benefits. If any students are not listed on the eligibility notice, the household should contact the district or school to have free or reduced-price meal benefits extended to those students.
If a student is not directly certified, the household should complete a free and reduced-price meal application form. The application for the SNAP or TFA households require the SNAP or TFA case number and the households may be asked to provide proof of the SNAP or TFA case number. The signature of an adult household member is also required.
Students in households participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Please send in an application or contact the determining official for more information.
When known to the district/school, households will be notified of any student’s eligibility for free meals if the individual student is Other Source Categorically Eligible because the student is categorized as either: Homeless; runaway as defined by law and determined by the district’s or school’s homeless liaison; or enrolled in an eligible Head Start or pre-kindergarten class as defined by law. Households with students who are categorically eligible under Other Source Categorically Eligible Programs should complete an application and check-off the relevant box. Questions should be directed to the determining official. For any student not listed on the eligibility notice, the households should contact the school or determining official about any student also eligible under one of these programs or should submit an income application for the other students.
Households notified of their children’s eligibility must contact the determining official or school if it chooses to decline the free meal benefits. If households/students are not notified by the district/school of their free meal benefits and they receive benefits under qualifying public assistance programs or under Other Source Categorically Eligible Programs, the parent/guardian should contact the determining official or their school.
Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court, are categorically eligible for free meals. A foster parent does not have to complete a free/reduced meal application if they can submit a copy of the legal document or legal court order showing that the student is a foster child. Additionally, a foster child may be included as a member of the foster family if the foster family chooses to also apply for benefits. If the foster family is not eligible for free or reduced-price meal benefits, it does not prevent a foster child from receiving free school meals. Note however, that a foster child’s eligibility for free school meals does not automatically extend to all students in the household.
Application forms for all other households require a statement of total household income, household size and names of all household members. The last four digits of the social security number of an adult household member must be included or a statement that the household member does not have one. The adult household member must also sign the application certifying that the information provided is correct.
Under the provisions of the policy for determining eligibility for free and reduced-price meals, the determining official, Cindy Maltais, (203) 891-8020 x1208, will review applications and determine eligibility. If a parent/guardian is dissatisfied with the ruling of the determining official, they may wish to discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis. If they wish to make a formal appeal, a request either orally or in writing, may be made to the Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Vince Scarpetti, 203-891-8020 x1200 for a hearing to appeal the decision.
The policy contains an outline of the hearing procedure. Each school and the central office of the school district has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by an interested party.
If a household member becomes unemployed or if household size changes at any time, the household should contact the school to file a new application. Such changes may make the students of the household eligible for reduced-price meals, free meals, or free milk, if the household income falls at or below the levels shown in the Income Guidelines.
Questions regarding the application process may be directed to the determining official at (203) 891-8020 x1208.