August 30, 2021 – 12:19pm
Stamford Public Schools (SPS) announced today its policy for determining eligibility of children who may receive free or reduced-price meals served under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP), Seamless Summer Option (SSO) of the NSLP, or free milk served under the Special Milk Program (SMP). Local school officials have adopted the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Income Eligibility Guidelines (IEGs) for family size and income criteria for determining eligibility. The following income guidelines will be used in Connecticut from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022, for determining eligibility of participants for free and reduced-price meals and free milk in the Child Nutrition Programs. The income calculations above are based on the following formulas:
All numbers are rounded upward to the next whole dollar. For school year 2021-22, the STAMFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS has opted to participate in the Seamless Summer Option of the NSLP. Therefore, all student meals offered will be free of charge for this school year. However, in order to determine if students are eligible for other benefits such as Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) (as applicable), households are encouraged to complete and submit a free and reduced-price school meal application. Students residing in households with income at or below the levels shown in the chart above are eligible for free or reduced-price meals or free milk. Applications can be found online at: MySchoolApps or in the lobby of the Stamford Government Center, 888 Washington Blvd., Stamford, CT 06901. To apply for free or reduced-price meals or free milk, households should fill out the application and place it in the box labeled Lunch Applications located in the lobby of the Stamford Government Center. Only one application is required per household and an application for free or reduced-price benefits cannot be approved unless it contains complete eligibility information as indicated on the application and instructions. The information provided on the application is confidential and will be used only for the purposes of determining eligibility and for administration and enforcement of the lunch, breakfast, milk, and P-EBT programs. Additionally, all school-aged students in income-eligible households can receive school meal benefits regardless of a student’s immigration status, and the district/school does not release information for immigration-related purposes in the usual course of operating the CNPs. Note that the district may share your eligibility information with education, health, social service, and nutrition programs to help them evaluate, fund, or determine benefits for their programs, auditors for program reviews, and law enforcement officials to help them look into violations of program rules. This information may also be verified at any time during the school year by school or other program officials. Applications may be submitted at any time during the year. For up to 30 operating days into the new school year, eligibility from the previous year will continue within the same local educational agency (LEA). When the carry-over period ends, unless the household is notified that the students are directly certified or the household submits an application that is approved, the students must pay full price for SBP and NSLP school meals during SY 2021-22 unless the school or district is implementing the SSO for SY 2021-22 which allows meals to be served free of charge to all students. Households will not be sent a reminder or a notice of expired eligibility in those districts participating in the National School Lunch or Breakfast Programs No application is required if the district directly certifies a student based on a household member receiving assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Temporary Family Assistance (TFA) program. All students in these households are eligible for free meal benefits. Households receiving assistance under the SNAP/TFA programs will be notified of their eligibility and students residing in the household will be provided free benefits unless the household notifies the determining official that it chooses to decline benefits. If any students were not listed on the eligibility notice, the household should contact the district or school to have free meal benefits extended to those students. Households receiving SNAP or TFA benefits for their children should only submit an application if they are not notified of their eligibility by October 15, 2021. Some students may be directly certified for free or reduced-price meals based on Medicaid (HUSKY A). No application is required if the district directly certifies a student based on Medicaid (HUSKY A). All students in these households are eligible for free or reduced-priced meal benefits. Households receiving assistance under Medicaid (HUSKY A) will be notified of their eligibility and their children will be provided free or reduced-price benefits accordingly, unless the household notifies the determining official that it chooses to decline benefits. If any students were not listed on the eligibility notice, the household should contact the district or school to have free or reduced-price meal benefits extended to those students. If a student is not directly certified, the household should complete a free and reduced-price meal application form. The application for the SNAP or TFA households require the SNAP or TFA case number and the households may be asked to provide proof of the SNAP or TFA case number. The signature of an adult household member is also required. Students in households participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Please send in an application or contact the determining official for more information. When known to the district/school, households will be notified of any student’s eligibility for free meals if the individual student is Other Source Categorically Eligible because the student is categorized as either: Homeless; runaway as defined by law and determined by the district’s or school’s homeless liaison; or enrolled in an eligible Head Start or pre-kindergarten class as defined by law. Households with students who are categorically eligible under Other Source Categorically Eligible Programs should complete an application and check-off the relevant box. Questions should be directed to the determining official. For any student not listed on the eligibility notice, the households should contact the school or determining official about any student also eligible under one of these programs or should submit an income application for the other students. Households notified of their children’s eligibility must contact the determining official or school if it chooses to decline the free meal benefits. If households/students are not notified by the district/school of their free meal benefits and they receive benefits under qualifying public assistance programs or under Other Source Categorically Eligible Programs, the parent/guardian should contact the determining official or their school. Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court, are categorically eligible for free meals. A foster parent does not have to complete a free/reduced meal application if they can submit a copy of the legal document or legal court order showing that the student is a foster child. Additionally, a foster child may be included as a member of the foster family if the foster family chooses to also apply for benefits. If the foster family is not eligible for free or reduced-price meal benefits, it does not prevent a foster child from receiving free school meals. Note however, that a foster child’s eligibility for free school meals does not automatically extend to all students in the household. Application forms for all other households require a statement of total household income, household size and names of all household members. The last four digits of the social security number of an adult household member must be included or a statement that the household member does not have one. The adult household member must also sign the application certifying that the information provided is correct. Under the provisions of the policy for determining eligibility for free and reduced-price meals, the determining official will review applications and determine eligibility. If a parent/guardian is dissatisfied with the ruling of the determining official, they may wish to discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis. If they wish to make a formal appeal, a request either orally or in writing, may be made to Ryan Fealey, Director of Finance at email@example.com or 203 977 5011 for a hearing to appeal the decision. The policy contains an outline of the hearing procedure. Each school and the central office of the school district has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by an interested party. If a household member becomes unemployed or if household size changes at any time, the household should contact the school to file a new application. Such changes may make the students of the household eligible for reduced-price meals, free meals, or free milk, if the household income falls at or below the levels shown in the Income Guidelines. Questions regarding the application process may be directed to the determining official at 203 977-1177. This is the Public Release we will send on August 30, 2021 to the following news media outlets, the local unemployment office, major employers contemplating layoffs, etc. 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: How to File a Complaint, 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 AgricultureOffice of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights1400 Independence Avenue, SWWashington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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