• FREE AND REDUCED-PRICE MEAL APPLICATION FAQs

    • Do I need to fill out an application for each child?
      • No. You can 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 one of your children's schools or complete the application online.
    •  
    • Who should apply?
      • You should complete the Free and Reduced-Price Meal Application if:
        • Your household meets the federal income guidelines (see below)
        • You qualify for SNAP benefits and do not receive a Direct Certification letter before school begins
        • You take part in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
        • You receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
        • You are applying for a Foster Child
    •  
    • Who can get meals at no charge?
      • Children attending a school that participates in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)
      • Children that have been directly certified (those students are eligible for free benefits based on documentation obtained directly from appropriate State or local agencies).
      • All children in households receiving benefits from SNAP or TANF
      • Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court
      • Children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant
      • Children living in households with gross income that is within the free limits on the Federal Income Guidelines Chart
      • Children enrolled in Head Start
    •  
    • Can foster children get meals at no charge?
      • Yes, foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for meals at no charge. Any foster child in the household is eligible for meals at no charge regardless of income.
    •  
    • Can homeless, runaway, and migrant children get meals at no charge?
      • Yes, children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant qualify for meals at no charge. If you haven't been told your children will get free meals, please call (904) 390-2222 to see if they qualify.
    •  
    • 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 Guidelines Chart.
    •  
    • Should I fill out an application if I received a letter this school year saying my children are approved for free meals?
      • Please carefully read the letter you received and follow the instructions. Call the Food Service Department if you have questions.
    •  
    • 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 the one school year at a time and for a short time the following school year. You must send in a new application unless you receive a letter stating that your child is eligible for the new school year through Direct Certification.
    •  
    • When should I apply?
      • We encourage all eligible families to submit a new application for free and reduced-price meals prior to or at the start of each new school year. This allows the application to be processed and the correct eligibility established before school starts.
        • Option 1 (preferred): Submit your application online. If you submit an application online, you do not need to submit a printed application.
        • Option 2: Submit a printed application. Completed print applications should be submitted to ONE OF the following:
          • The school cafeteria
          • Scan and emailed to foodservice@duvalschools.org
          • Mailed to the address on the application.
          • If you submit a printed application, you do not need to submit an online application.
    •  
    • I receive WIC benefits. Will my children get meals at no charge?
      • 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 on the application be verified?
      • Yes, and we may also ask you to send written proof of the information provided on the application.
    •  
    • What if meal benefits are denied?
      • Families can provide their student(s) funds to purchase school meals or provide a meal from home.
      • Families may submit a new meal application at any time during the school year if circumstances change (Example: there is a decrease in income or increase in household members) which allow them to meet the federal income guidelines. Documentation will be required to justify the change in information.
    •  
    • Who should I include as members of my household?
      • You must include all people living in your household who share income and expenses, related or not (such as grandparents, other relatives, or friends) including all children – even those that are under school age. 
    •  
    • What income is counted in determining eligibility for free and reduced-price meals?
      • All income actually received by the household is counted. This includes salary, public assistance benefits, social security payments, pensions, unemployment compensation and the like. 
      • The only exceptions are benefits under Federal programs which, by law, are excluded from consideration; in-kind benefits, such as military on-base housing (but not military housing allowances), certain kinds of assistance for students, and irregular income from occasional small jobs such as babysitting or lawn mowing.
    •  
    • 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 make $1,000 per month. If you normally get overtime pay, 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, not the income that you used to receive.
    •  
    • We are in the military. Do we include our housing allowance as income?
      • If you get an off-base housing allowance, it must be included as income. However, if your housing is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, do not include your housing allowance as income.
    •  
    • My spouse is deployed to a combat zone. Is her combat pay counted as income?
      • No. If the combat pay is received in addition to his/her basic pay because of his/her deployment and it wasn't received before he/she was deployed, combat pay is not counted as income.
    •  
    • How will I know if my application has been approved?
      • Once an application has been received, it may take up to 10 days for the processing to be complete. Once the processing has been completed, the Food Service Department sends out letters of determination weekly. If you need to know the status prior to receiving your letter, please call the Food Service Department for more information. Please note: due to the confidentiality of the student’s meal status, the Food Service Department can only release the status information to a verified parent or guardian that is listed on the student’s FOCUS account.
      • Meal benefits begin the day the meal application is approved. The eligibility date cannot be backdated to cover meals purchased prior to the approval date.
      • Keep your meal benefits approval notification letter as proof of eligibility.
    •  
    • My family needs more help. Are there other programs we might apply for?
      • To find out how to apply for other assistance benefits, contact your local assistance office.