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Families can make more money, still qualify for free and reduced-price school meals
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Fair Street International Academy students go through the cafeteria serving line Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, during lunch service. - photo by Scott Rogers
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The Georgia Department of Education has announced the new income thresholds for families applying to receive free and reduced school lunches for their children.

Georgia schools under the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program, now have new family size and income criteria for free and reduced price meals eligibility. 

The Georgia Department of Education School Nutrition Program announced its 2019-20 policy on Monday, July 29, which increases the income qualifications for families with one to eight members. 

Children with a family size of two, qualify to receive a free meal if their family’s income lies within $0 to $21,983. This is a $871 bump from the 2017-18 policy. Those with a family size of four are eligible for a free meal if the income is $0 to $33,475, which marks a $1,495 increase from last year’s required amount. 

The reduced price meals criteria also increased its scope of family income amounts. Two-person families fall within this category if their income is within $21,984 to $31,284, compared to last year’s $21,113 to $30,044. 

Other than meeting the requirements of the Georgia Department of Education, children are eligible for free or reduced price meals if all kids in households receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. 

The Georgia Department of Education also offers eligibility to foster children who are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court, children participating in their school’s Head Start program and kids who fall under the definition of homeless, runaway or migrant. 

The reduced price breakfast costs 30 cents or less, and the reduced price lunch costs 40 cents or less. 

Parents and guardians will receive application forms from the Georgia Department of Education. People can apply by filling out the form and returning it to their respective schools at any time during the year. One application may be used for all students in a household. 

To view the full press release about the new policy, visit snp.wpgadoe.org. 

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