Begin Main Content Area
Media > Education > Details


USDA Releases Income Eligibility Guidelines for Free and Reduced School Meals

Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Department of Education today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released federal income eligibility guidelines for free and reduced-price school meals and free milk for July 2018 – June 2019.

Schools, and other institutions and facilities, use the guidelines to determine eligibility for the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Special Milk Program for Children, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and the Summer Food Service Program.

“Food insecurity impacts communities across the commonwealth,” Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera said.  “Without proper nutrition, a student’s health, focus, and academic performance may decline. The free and reduced lunch, and other nutrition programs improve at-risk students’ access to healthy meals, and overall health and well-being.”

Households receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) need only include the SNAP or TANF case number on their application.  Households enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) also may qualify for free or reduced-price school meals and should complete a Household Meal Benefit Application.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, 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 Service 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 online at:, 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) Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture

             Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

             1400 Independence Avenue, SW

             Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) Fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) E-mail:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

The following annual income eligibility guidelines are effective July 1, 2018, until further notice:

Family Size          Free Meals or Milk           Reduced Price Meals         Not Eligible

                              (130% of Poverty                (185% of Poverty
                               Guidelines)                          Guidelines)


One                        $0 to $15,782                     $15,783 to $22,459            $22,460 and up


Two                        $0 to $21,398                     $21,399 to $30,451            $30,452 and up


Three                     $0 to $27,014                     $27,015 to $38,443            $38,444 and up


Four                       $0 to $32,630                     $32,631 to $46,435            $46,436 and up


Five                        $0 to $38,246                     $38,247 to $54,427            $54,428 and up


Six                          $0 to $43,862                     $43,863 to $62,419            $62,420 and up


Seven                     $0 to $49,478                     $49,479 to $70,411            $70,412 and up


Eight                       $0 to $55,094                     $55,095 to $78,403            $78,404 and up


For Each Additional 
Family Member Add:              

                             +$5,616                                 +$7,992                              +$7,993


SOURCE:  Pennsylvania Department of Education

For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs please visit the Department of Education’s website at or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.  

MEDIA CONTACT: Rick Levis - 717-783-9802 or

# # #​

Share This