The nationwide waiver allowing all students to eat free school meals has expired. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made it possible for school nutrition programs to serve all students free breakfast and lunch through "waivers."
Although Congress did not extend these waivers for the upcoming school year, public schools can apply for free or reduced lunch or breakfast. For 2022-2023, students must qualify for free or reduced lunch based on household income eligibility. Only one application per household is needed.
If a letter was received from the school referring to automatic approval (directly certified) of free meals for the 2022-2023 school year because someone in the household participates in a federal or state assistance program such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), submission of an application is not necessary.
RCSD suggests the following to make the application process fast and easy:
- For participation in a federal or state assistance program such as SNAP, TANF, or FDPIR, a case number is required (not the card or account number).
- If a family does not participate in any of the above assistance programs, the family will need to report the total household income as follows:
- If a family member in the household has a job, then reference the earnings statement or pay stubs to report the gross income, which is different than the amount actually received in a paycheck.
- If a family member receives Social Security or retirement benefits, then gather the benefit statements to report the amount and frequency of the payments.
- It may also be necessary to reference other financial documents for additional sources of income.
There is a Help link available if a family is unsure of everything they will need to apply. While applying for the program, the Help link is located on the Income section which contains detailed instructions and explanations about the sources of income a household must include. Additional information may be gathered at this time.
To apply online, visit RCSD’s School Lunch App at https://zcu.io/WWwd. If access to a personal computer is not available, a computer will be provided by Pelahatchie Elementary, 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and at Pelahatchie High School, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Be sure to bring the information as outlined if applying on location.