Frequently Asked Questions

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Do I need to fill out an application for each child?
No. Complete the application to apply for free or reduced price meals. 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 the school.

Who can get free meals?
Children in households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and most foster children can get free meals regardless of your income. Also, if your household income is within the limits on the Federal Income Chart, your children can get free or reduced-price meals. Children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant also qualify for free meals. If you haven’t been told your children will get free meals, please contact your school to see if your child(ren) qualifies.

Who can get reduced-price meals?
Your children can get low-cost meals if your household income is within the reduced-price limits on the Federal Income Chart, shown on this application.

A member of my household received SNAP or TANF benefits. The school provided me a letter that stated that my child is eligible for free meals via the Direct Certification Process. Do I need to do anything more to ensure that I receive free meals for my child?
No. You do not need to do anything more to receive the free meals. If you do not wish to receive the free meals, you should follow the steps outlined in the letter from the school to notify school personnel immediately.

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 contact your school.

My child’s application was approved last year. Do I need to fill out another 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.

I get Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Can my child(ren) get free meals?
Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Please fill out an application.

Will the information I give be checked?
Yes, we may ask you to send written proof of the information you give.

If I do not qualify now, may I apply again later?
Yes. You may apply at any time during the school year if your household size goes up, income goes down, or if you start getting SNAP or TANF. If you lose your job, your children may be able to get free or reduced-price meals during the time you are unemployed.

What if I disagree with the school’s decision about my application?
If you disagree with this decision, you may discuss it with Nicole Stuckert at (815) 899-8100. You also have the right to a fair hearing. You must request a hearing by September 1, 2017. You may request a hearing by calling collect or writing to:

Nicole Stuckert
245 West Exchange Street
Sycamore, IL 60178
(815) 899-8100

May I apply if someone in my household is not a U.S. citizen?
Yes. You or your child(ren) do not have to be a U.S. citizen to qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

Who should I include as members of my household?
You must include all people living in your household, related or not (such as grandparents, other relatives, or friends) who share income and expenses. You must include yourself and all children living with you. If you live with other people who are economically independent (for example, people who you do not support, who do not share income with you or your children, and who pay a pro-rated share of expenses), do not include them.

What if my income is not always the same?
List the amount that you normally get. For example, if you normally get $1000 each month, but you missed some work last month and only got $900, put down that you get $1000 per month. If you normally get overtime, include it, but not if you get it only sometimes.

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 enter 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.

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, 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.

My family needs more help. Are there other programs we might apply for?
To find out how to apply for SNAP, TANF or other assistance benefits, contact your local Department of Human Services office or call (800) 843-6154 (voice) or (800) 447-6404 (TTY).