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New Guidelines for School Lunch Program

LANSING – New household income guidelines used to determine eligibility for free and reduced price school meals are available for 2015-16, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced today.

Established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the new income guidelines are effective through June 30, 2016, and apply to free and reduced price meals and free milk available through the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Special Milk, and Child and Adult Care Food Programs.

“These federal programs provide nutritionally-balanced, low-cost or free meals that are so vitally important to the health, well-being and education of our children,” State Superintendent Brian Whiston said.

Those automatically qualifying for free meals include: adults, children, or foster children who are recipients of various programs such as Michigan’s Family Independence Program, Food Assistance Program, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations; and Head Start, an At-Risk after-school center, or an emergency shelter enrollees.

Households with incomes less than or equal to the following eligibility guidelines qualify for free or reduced price meals or free milk:


Scale for Free Meals or Free Milk   Scale for Reduced Price Meals
Total Family Size Annual Monthly   Annual Monthly
 1 $15,301 $1,276   $21,775 $1,815
 2 $20,709 $1,726   $29,471 $2,456
 3 $26,117 $2,177   $37,167 $3,098
 4 $31,525 $2,628   $44,863 $3,739
 5 $36,933 $3,078   $52,559 $4,380
 6 $42,341 $3,529   $60,255 $5,022
 7 $47,749 $3,980   $67,951 $5,663
 8 $53,157 $4,430   $75,647 $6,304
 For each additional family member add:
  $5,408 $451   $7,696 $642


Families should contact their school, school district, child care center, or family day care home sponsor to find out whether it participates in these programs.

Schools, child care centers, adult day care centers, and family day care home sponsors provide application forms for free or reduced price meals. Only one application is required per household, and applications are accepted year-round. Most participating centers and all participating family child care homes provide meals to all enrolled participants with no separate charges.

An application to a school, child care center, adult day care center, or family day care home sponsor can be approved if it contains complete documentation of household income or documentation of current participation in Michigan’s Family Independence Program, Food Assistance Program, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations. Information supplied on an application for free or reduced price meals may be verified at any time. An appeal procedure is available for households with denied applications.

A household may qualify for free or reduced price meals due to a temporary loss of income, such as a period of unemployment.

If a doctor has determined that a child or adult has a disability preventing the participant from eating regular school or center meals, the building will make any doctor-prescribed substitution at no charge. A doctor’s statement, including prescribed diet and/or substitution, must be submitted to the food service department of the school or child or adult care facility.

Our R-P Food Service Staff is ready and capable to assist any/all Rocket families with eligibilty and access to our food service programs.