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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 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released federal income eligibility guidelines for free and reduced-price school meals and free milk for July 2017 – June 2018.

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 wellbeing.”

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.

For more information on school nutrition,, keyword “school nutrition.”

The following annual income eligibility guidelines are effective July 1, 2017 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 $15,678              $15,679 to $22,311            $22,312 and up

Two                      $0 to $21,112              $21,113 to $30,044            $30,045 and up

Three                    $0 to $26,546              $26,547 to $37,777            $37,778 and up

Four                      $0 to $31,980              $31,981 to $45,510            $45,511 and up

Five                      $0 to $37,414              $37,415 to $53,243            $53,244 and up

Six                        $0 to $42,848              $42,849 to $60,976            $60,977 and up

Seven                   $0 to $48,282              $48,283 to $68,709            $68,710 and up

Eight                     $0 to $53,716              $53,717 to $76,442            $76,443 and up

For Each Additional
Family Member
Add:                              +$5,434                                +$7,733                         +$7,734

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education

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MEDIA CONTACT: Casey Smith - 717-783-9802

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