Income Eligibility Guidelines For Free And Reduced-Price Meals

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Great Neck Public Schools announced a free- and reduced-price meal policy for Great Neck Public School-area school children. Local school officials have adopted the following family eligibility criteria to assist them in determining eligibility:

SNAP/TANF/FDPIR Households: Households that currently include children who receive the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) but who are not found during the Direct Certification Matching Process (DCMP) or households that currently receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) must complete an application listing the child’s name, a valid SNAP, TANF or FDPIR case number and the signature of an adult household member. Eligibility for free meal benefits based on participation in SNAP, TANF or FDPIR is extended to all children in the household. When known to the School Food Authority, households will be notified of their children’s eligibility for free meals based on their participation in the SNAP, TANF or the FDPIR programs. No application is necessary if the household was notified by the SFA that their children have been directly certified. If the household is not sure if its children have been directly certified, the household should contact the school.

Other Source Categorical Eligibility: When known to the School Food Authority, households will be notified of any child’s eligibility for free meals based on the individual child’s designation as Other Source Categorically Eligible, as defined by law. Children are determined Other Source Categorically Eligible if they are homeless, migrant, runaway, a foster child or enrolled in Head Start or an eligible prekindergarten program.

If children or households receive benefits under Assistance Programs or Other Source Categorically Eligible Programs and are not listed on the notice of eligibility and are not notified by the School Food Authority of their free meal benefits, the parent or guardian should contact the school or should submit an income application.

Other Households: Households with income the same or below the amounts listed above for family size may be eligible for and are urged to apply for free and/or reduced-price meals (or free milk). They may do so by completing the application sent home with the letter to parents. One application for all children in the household should be submitted.  Additional copies are available at the principal’s office in each school. Applications may be submitted anytime during the school year to the director of Food & Nutrition Services. Contact Patricia Daley-Jimenez at 516-441-4090 with any questions regarding the application process.

Households notified of their children’s eligibility must contact the School Food Authority if they choose to decline the free meal benefits. Households may apply for benefits at any time throughout the school year. Children of parents or guardians who become unemployed or experience a financial hardship midyear may become eligible for free and reduced price meals or free milk at any point during the school year.

For up to 30 operating days into the new school year (or until a new eligibility determination is made, whichever comes first), an individual child’s free or reduced price eligibility status from the previous year will continue within the same SFA. When the carryover period ends, unless the household is notified that its children are directly certified or the household submits an application that is approved, the children’s meals must be claimed at the paid rate. Though encouraged to do so, the SFA is not required to send a reminder or a notice of expired eligibility.

The information provided on the application will be confidential and will be used for determining eligibility. The names and eligibility status of participants may also be used for the allocation of funds to federal education programs such as Title I and National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), state health or state education programs, provided the state agency or local education agency administers the programs, and for federal, state or local means-tested nutrition programs with eligibility standards comparable to the NSLP. Eligibility information may also be released to programs authorized under the National School Lunch Act (NSLA) or the Child Nutrition Act (CNA). The release of information to any program or entity not specifically authorized by the NSLA will require a written consent statement from the parent or guardian.

The School Food Authority does, however, have the right to verify at anytime during the school year the information on the application. If a parent does not give the school this information, the child/children will no longer be able to receive free or reduced-price meals.

Foster children are eligible for free meal benefits. A separate application for a foster child is no longer necessary. Foster children may be listed on the application as a member of the family where they reside. Applications must include the foster child’s name and personal-use income.

Under the provisions of the policy, the designated official will review applications and determine eligibility. If a parent is dissatisfied with the ruling of the designated official, he/she may make a request either orally or in writing for a hearing to appeal the decision. The superintendent of schools, whose address is 345 Lakeville Rd., Great Neck, NY 11020, has been designated as the Hearing Official. Hearing procedures are outlined in the policy.  However, prior to initiating the hearing procedure, the parent or School Food Authority may request a conference to provide an opportunity for the parent and official to discuss the situation, present information and obtain an explanation of the data submitted in the application or the decisions rendered. The request for a conference shall not in any way prejudice or diminish the right to a fair hearing.

Only complete applications can be approved. This includes complete and accurate information regarding: the SNAP, TANF or FDPIR case number; the names of all household members; on an income application, the last four digits of the social security number of the person who signs the form or an indication that the adult does not have one, and the amount and source of income received by each household member. In addition, the parent or guardian must sign the application form, certifying the information is true and correct.

Nondiscrimination Statement: This explains what to do if you believe you have been treated unfairly.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil-rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. 

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the agency (state or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call 866-632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by mail to U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410; fax to 202-690-7442; or email program.intake@usda.gov.

The Great Neck Public Schools is an equal opportunity provider.

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