The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Free and Reduced-Price School Meals and Debts: Issues to Watch in Massachusetts

Date: 
12/06/2011
Author: 
MLRI and Metrowest Legal Services

All Massachusetts public schools, and most charter and some parochial schools participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). School Districts sign an agreement with the MA Department of Early and Secondary Education (DESE) to administer the program and abide by the NSLP rules.

The attached fact sheet describes some things you should know in determining if your School District is following the NSLP free and reduced-price school meals rules, including:

  • Children in TAFDC or SNAP households should be automatically approved for ree meals without having to file a separate application
  • Foster children should be automatically approved too
  • Homeless, runaway and migrant children should be automatically approved
  • Once approved, a child is eligible for the entire school year and the first 30 days of the next school year
  • Families do not need SSNs to file an application for school meals
  • Families are not required to provide wage stubs, tax returns or other proof of
    income with the application
  • Families who receive TAFDC or SNAP benefits need only provide their DTA Agency ID number, not gross income information, on the application
  • School districts should process school meal applications within 10 days of receipt.

For more detailed information, download the attached fact sheet.

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