Free and reduced price meal policy announced

Free and reduced price meal policy announced Child and Adult Nutrition Services in the South Dakota Department of Education and Cultural Affairs has announced the policy for free and reduced price meals or free milk.

The policy applies to children unable to pay the full price of meals served under the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs, or for milk served in the Special Milk Program. Contact the local school for information on which programs are offered. Each participating school administrative office has a copy of the policy which is available for review. Schools participating in one or more programs from this area are:

Vermillion School District

St. Agnes School

Households that are currently on Food Stamps or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) will receive letters indicating that their children are eligible for FREE school meals. These families SHOULD NOT complete an application for free meals. They should bring a letter or a copy of the letter to the school. Families receiving commodities through the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations can request an Interagency Action Notice that can be brought to the school in place of an application to document eligibility for free meals.

In certain cases, foster children may be eligible for free or reduced price meals or free milk regardless of the income of the household in which they reside. Households with a foster child should contact the school for more information on how to apply for the benefits.

To apply for free or reduced price meals, other households should fill out the application and return it to the school. An application must include the names of children for whom benefits are requested, all family members and their monthly income, and be signed by an adult household member with that person's social security number. Incomplete application cannot be approved for free and reduced price meals. Additional copies are available in the school office. The information provided on the application is confidential and will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility status for school meals and maybe used for other federal programs. If a household that receives food stamps, TANF, or FDPIR (commodities) does not receive the letter from Social Services or the Interagency Notice of Action or chooses not to bring it to school, the household should complete an application. An application from these households must include the names of children for whom benefits are being requested, the case number from their program and the signature of an adult household member. Information on any application may be verified at any time during the school year by school or other program officials.

Households that receive free or reduced price meals or free milk for children are required to report to the school increases in household income of over $50 per month or $600 per year. They must also report any decrease in household size, or if a child's or the household's TANF, food stamp, or commodity benefits are rescinded.

Applications may be submitted at any time during the year. If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size changes, the family should contact the school. If a parent or guardian becomes unemployed, the children from that household may be eligible for free or reduced price meals or free milk during the time of unemployment if the household's income falls within the income eligibility guidelines.

If a parent or guardian is dissatisfied with the ruling on the application for eligibility, she/he may contact the determining official on an informal basis. If the parent or guardian wishes to make a formal appeal, an oral or written request may be made to the school's hearing official for a hearing to appeal the decision.

Schools are allowed to share eligibility category information by name with other federal programs. In the operation of child nutrition programs, no child may be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, gender or disability. If you feel you have been discriminated against, write immediately to the Secretary of Agriculture, Washington DC 20250. If a child needs a special diet as prescribed by a doctor, the family should contact the local school's food service manager.

A sampling of connections to various websites for nutrition information and activities by age and interest groups are available on the website for Child and Adult Nutrition Services. The web address is http://www.state.sd.us/state/executive/deca/compser/canslink.htm. Child and Adult provides the links only for the purpose of helping a person find nutrition information. Key words for individuals to do their own searches are also included. Work on finding the various links was completed by an intern from in the Child and Adult Nutrition Services Office, Doralynne Micklos. Micklos is enrolled in the Nutrition, Food Science, and Hospitality Department of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences at South Dakota State University.

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