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USDA Announces Income Eligibility Guidelines for Free and Reduced School Meals

Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Department of Education today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released federal income eligibility guidelines for free and reduced-price school meals and free milk for July 2019 – June 2020.

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 every community across the commonwealth,” said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. “The free and reduced-price programs help improve the overall health and well-being of students, which ultimately helps them stay focused and engaged and perform better in school.”

Households receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 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) 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, 2019, 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 $16,237             $16,238 to $23,107       $23,108 and up

Two                   $0 to $21,983             $21,984 to $31,284       $31,285 and up

Three                 $0 to $27,729            $27,730 to $39,461       $39,462 and up

Four                   $0 to $33,475            $33,476 to $47,638        $47,639 and up

Five                    $0 to $39,221            $39,222 to $55,815       $55,816 and up

Six                      $0 to $44,967            $44,968 to $63,992       $63,993 and up

Seven                 $0 to $50,713            $50,714 to $72,169       $72,170 and up

Eight                   $0 to $56,459            $56,460 to $80,346       $80,347 and up

For Each Additional
Family Member

Add:                            +$5,746                              +$8,177                  +$8,178

SOURCE:  Pennsylvania Department of Education

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Eric Levis - 717-783-9802

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