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Free and reduced price meals available for local students

By Norwalk Reflector Staff • Aug 11, 2018 at 6:00 PM

Local schools have announced their 2018-2019 program year policy for free and reduced priced meals for students unable to pay the full price of meals or milk served under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program. Schools will have a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party.

The Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines will be used for determining eligibility. Children from families whose annual income is at or below the federal guidelines are eligible for free and reduced price meals or free milk if the school participates in the Special Milk Program.

Application forms are being distributed to all homes in a letter to parents or guardians. To apply for free and reduced-price benefits, households should fill out the application and return it to the school. Additional copies are available at area schools. A complete application is required.

Households which currently receive Special Nutrition Assistance Program Benefits (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) or Ohio Works First (OWF) funds for a child must provide the child’s name, the SNAP or OEF case number and signature of an adult household member on the application. Households which don’t receive SNAP or OWF funds must provide the names of all household members, the last four digits of the Sociel Security number of the adult signing the application or state “none” if the adult doesn’t have a Social Security number, the amount and source of income received by each household member, (state the monthly income) and the signature of an adult household member. If any of this information is missing, the school cannot process the application.

Free health care

Families with children eligible for school meals may be eligible for free health care coverage through Medicaid and/or Ohio’s Healthy Start & Healthy Families programs. These programs include coverage for doctor visits, immunizations, physicals, prescriptions, dental, vision, mental health, substance abuse and more.

Call 1-800-324-8680 for more information or to request an application. Information can also be found on at jfs.ohio.gov/ohp/consumers/familychild.stm. Anyone who has an Ohio Medicaid card is already receiving these services.

The information provided on the application is confidential and will be used only for the purpose of determining eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by school or other program officials. To discourage the possibility of misrepresentation, the application forms contain a statement above the space for signature certifying that all information furnished is true and correct. Applications are being made in connection with the receipt of federal funds. Schools or other officials may check the information on the application at any time during the school year. Deliberate misrepresentation of information may subject the applicant to prosecution under applicable state and federal laws.

Households will be notified of the approval or denial of benefits.

Foster children are categorically eligible for free meal benefits, regardless of the household’s income. If a family has foster children living with them and wishes to apply for such meals or milk for them, contact the school for more information.

Under the provision of the policy, applications will be reviewed and eligibility determined. If a parent or guardian disagrees with the decision on the application or the result of the verification, the decision may be discussed with the determining official on an informal basis. If a formal appeal is desired, the household has the right to a fair hearing. A fair heargin can be requested either orally or in writing.

The policy contains an outline of the hearing procedure.

Households may apply for benefits any time during the shcool year. If a household isn’t currently eligible and if the household size increases or income decreases because of unemployment or other reasons, the family should contact the school to file a new application. 

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil-right regulations and policies, the USDA, it agencies, office 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 Services 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 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 (1): U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Right, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington , D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: 202-690-7442; or (3) email: [email protected]

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