Who qualifies for FRPL? And other questions

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    Dear Parent or Guardian:

    Children need healthy meals to learn. Essex Westford School District offers healthy meals every school day. In school year 2021-2022, all children will receive free breakfast, lunch, and after school snack (if your school offers this program) regardless of your household income eligibility. It is still very important for families to submit the Application for Free and Reduce Price School Meals to track our community's Free and Reduced Percentage. Filling out and returning the application may help your family, the school, and community at large, qualify for other financial assistance. P-EBT benefits to your household, grant funds for the school, and telecom reimbursements for the community are just a few examples of the benefits of having higher Free and Reduced percentages. This packet includes an application for free or reduced price meal benefits and a set of detailed instructions. Below are some common questions and answers to help you with the application process. These Q & A's were written in the context of normal school year breakfast and lunch operations. Again, this year all students can receive free breakfast and lunch through the school meals program.

    Who can get free or reduced price meals?

    • All children in households receiving benefits from 3SquaresVT or Reach-Up are eligible for free meals.
    • Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free meals. 
    • Children participating in their school’s Head Start program are eligible for free meals.
    • Children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant are eligible for free meals.
    • Children may receive free or reduced-price meals if your household’s income is within the limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines. Your children may qualify for free or reduced price meals if your household income falls at or below the limits on the Federal Guidelines chart below.

    To find out how to apply for 3SquaresVTor other assistance benefits, contact your local assistance office or call 1-800-479-6151.

    How to apply

Qualifying Income for Free or Reduced-Price Lunch

FRPL Program Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines | For School Year 2018-2019
  • 2.   How do I know if my children qualify as homeless, migrant, or runaway? Do the members of your household lack a permanent address? Are you staying together in a shelter, hotel, or other temporary housing arrangement? Does your family relocate on a seasonal basis? Are any children living with you who have chosen to leave their prior family or household? If you believe children in your household meet these descriptions and haven’t been told your children will get free meals, please call the EWSD Homeless Student Liaison Erin Maguire, at 802-857-2018, or email her at emaguire@ewsd.org.

    3.  Do I need to fill out an application for each child?  No. Use one Free and Reduced Price School Meals Application for all students in your household. We cannot approve an application that is not complete, so be sure to fill out all required information. Return the completed application to: Scott Fay, 2 Educational Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452, call 802-857-7333 or email him at sfay@ewsd.org

    4. Should I fill out an application if I received a letter this school year saying my children are already approved for free meals? No, but please read the letter you got carefully and follow the instructions. If any children in your household were missing from your eligibility notification, contact Scott Fay, 2 Educational Drive, Essex Jct., VT 05452 or call 802-857-7333 immediately.

    5. My child's application was approved last school year. Do I need to fill out a new one? Yes.  Your child’s application is only good for that school year and for the first few days of this school year.  You must send in a new application unless the school told you that your child is eligible for the new school year. If you do not send in a new application that is approved by the school or you have not been notified that your children is eligible for free meals, your child will be charged the full price for meals.

    6.   I get WIC.  Can my children get free meals?  Maybe. Children in households participating in WIC might be eligible for free or reduced-price meals; a meal application is needed.  Please send in the completed application to sfay@ewsd.org

    7.  Will the information I give be checked? Yes. We may also ask you to send written proof of the household income you report.

    8.  If I don’t qualify now, may I apply later? Yes, you may apply at any time during the school year.  For example, children with a parent or guardian who becomes unemployed may become eligible for free and reduced price meals if the household income drops below the income limit.

    9.  What if I disagree with the school’s decision about my application? You should talk to school officials. You also may ask for a hearing by calling or writing to Brian Donahue, Chief Operations Officer, 51 Park Street Essex Junction Vt. 05452,  bdonahue@ewsd.org.

    10. May I apply if someone in my household is not a U.S. citizen? Yes. You, your children, or other household members do not have to be U.S. citizens to apply for free or reduced-price meals. 

    11.  What if my income is not always the same? List the amount that you normally receive. For example, if you normally make $1,000 each month, but you missed some work last month and only made $900, put down that you made $1,000 per month.  If you normally get overtime, include it, but do not include it if you only work overtime sometimes.  If you have lost a job or had your hours or wages reduced, use your current income.

    12. What if some household members have no income to report? Household members may not receive some types of income we ask you to report on the application, or may not receive income at all. Whenever this happens, please write a 0 in the field. However, if any income fields are left empty or blank, those will also be counted as zeroes. Please be careful when leaving income fields blank, as we will assume you meant to do so.

    13.   We are in the military. Do we report our income differently? Your basic pay and cash bonuses must be reported as income. If you get any cash value allowances for off-base housing, food, or clothing, or receive Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance payments, it must also be included as income.

    However, if your housing is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, do not include your housing allowance as income. Any additional combat pay resulting from deployment is also excluded from income.

    14. What if there isn't enough space on the application for my family?  List any additional household members on a separate piece of paper, and attach it to your application. Visit EWSD.org/lunch for the complete application, or contact Scott Fay at sfay@ewsd.org, or call 802-857-7333 for more information.

    15. My family needs more help. Are there other programs we might apply for? To find out how to apply for 3SquaresVTor other assistance benefits, contact your local assistance office or call 1-800-479-6151.

    If you have other questions or need help, Child Nutrition Office at 857-7333 for more information.

    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: http://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:

    (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
    (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or
    (3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.
    This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Apply for Free/Reduced-Price Lunch

Instructions for FRPL form

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