Tennessee Announces 2014-15 Free And Reduced-Price Meal Income Guidelines

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Tennessee Department of Education announced the 2014-15 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy for free and reduced-price meals for children in Tennessee’s schools. The USDA’s school meals programs help ensure all students have access to nutritious meals.

“It is important to give our children healthy and nutritious meals to improve their chances of success and improve their learning opportunities,” Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said. “Research indicates eating habits affect learning. We want to ensure all our children are well nourished and ready to learn.”

Frequently asked questions about free and reduced-price meals:

How do I apply? You should have received an application from your child’s school. If not, please contact the school directly.

Do I need to fill out an application for each of my children? No, you only need one application for all students in your household.

Who can get free meals? All children in households receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Families First in TN) can get free meals regardless of your income. Also, your children can get free meals if your household’s gross income is within the free limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines (please see chart at the end of this document).

Note: If you have received a notice of direct certification for free meals, do not complete an application. But do let the school know if any children in your household are not listed on the Notice of Direct Certification letter you received.

Can foster children get free meals? Yes, foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free meals.

Can homeless, runaway, Head Start, and migrant children get free meals? Yes, children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant are eligible for free meals. If you believe children in your household meet these descriptions and you haven’t been told your children will get free meals, please call or email your child’s school.

Who can get reduced-price meals? Your children can get reduced-price meals if your household is within the reduced price limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Chart shown at the end of this document.

Should I fill out an application if I get a letter this school year saying my children are approved for free or reduced-price meals? No, but please read the letter carefully and follow the instructions, or call your local School Nutrition Program Director if you have questions.

My child’s application was approved last year. Do I need to fill out another one? Yes, your child’s application was only good for the 2013-14 school year and for the first few days of the 2014-15 school year.

I get WIC. Can my children get free meals? Yes, children in households participating in WIC may be eligible free or reduced-price meals. Please send in an application.

Will the information I give be checked? Yes, and you may be asked to send written proof.

If I do not qualify now, may I apply later? Yes, you may apply at any time during the school year. For example, children with a parent or guardian who becomes unemployed may become eligible for free and reduced-price meals if the household income drops below the income limit.

What if I disagree with the school’s decision about my application? You should speak with school officials. You also may ask for a hearing to have the decision reviewed.

May I apply if someone in my household is not a U. S. citizen? Yes, you or your children do not have to be U.S. citizens to qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

Who should I include as members of my household? You must include all people living in your household, related or not (such as grandparents, other relatives, or friends) who share income and expenses. You must include yourself and all children who are living with you. If you live with other people who are economically independent (for example, people whom you do not support, who do not share income with you or your children, and who pay a pro-rated share of expenses), do not include them.

What if my income is not always the same? List the amount that you consistently receive. For instance, if you consistently make $1000 each month, but you only made $900 last month due to an unexpected reduction in hours, please include the normal amount of $1000 per month. If you consistently get overtime, please also include it. If you have lost a job or had your hours or wages reduced, please use your current income.

We are in the military. Do we include our housing allowance as income? If you get an off-base housing allowance, it must be included as income. However, if your housing is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, do not include your housing allowance as income.

My spouse is deployed to a combat zone. Is their combat pay counted as income? No, if the combat pay is received in addition to basic pay and it was not received before he/she was deployed, combat pay is not counted as income.

My family needs more help. Are there other programs we might apply for? For more information on the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, contact Sarah White, executive director of school nutrition services, at Sarah.C.White@tn.gov or at 615/532-4714

For more information contact Kelli Gauthier at 615/532-7817 or Kelli.Gauthier@tn.gov.



Helen DeVos College Of Education Celebrates Student Teachers

The Helen DeVos College of Education at Lee University celebrated the accomplishments of its student teachers with a banquet in the Centenary Room on Lee’s campus. Student teachers, cooperating teachers and supervisors enjoyed the evening sharing the semester’s experiences with each other. Speakers for the evening included Cameryn Byrd, Lauren Suits, Jonathan Berry and Jared ... (click for more)

Lee University Named To President’s Service Honor Roll Once Again

The Corporation for National and Community Service announced that Lee University has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, once again receiving recognition for its commitment to bettering the community through service. “Receiving this honor indicates that our students and faculty are engaging in transformative service with our community ... (click for more)

TVA Sues Cleveland's Allan Jones Over Dock, Retaining Wall, Boat Ramp, Boathouse On Hiwassee River

TVA has sued Cleveland, Tn., Check Into Cash millionaire W. Allan Jones Jr. over the construction of a dock, retaining wall, boat ramp and boathouse on the Hiwassee River. In the lawsuit in Federal Court, TVA said it told Mr. Jones before the construction was finished that he was on TVA property. The complaint says he has refused to move the construction from the river. ... (click for more)

Bobby Dodd Lawsuit Against City Moved To Federal Court

A lawsuit brought by former Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd against the city of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Fire and Police Pension Fund over his pension has been moved to Federal Court. The lawsuit was earlier filed in Chancery Court by attorneys Jerry Tidwell and Adam Izell. The suit says former Chief Dodd opted for a plan that would have half of his pension go to ... (click for more)

Please Don't Close The Piccadilly Cafeteria At Hamilton Place - And Response

Oh, no. The Piccadilly Cafeteria at Hamilton Place is closing.  Its last day is Christmas Eve.  I will miss the great food they have there but most of all I will miss their servers, cashiers and waitresses.  They are all so friendly and accommodating.  They make it like it’s a home-style restaurant. I sure wish there was some way that Hamilton Place and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 10 Tasks For This Week

In 1993 a 95-year-old man named William Snell created a list called “Life’s Little Instructions.” His list has swirled around in the Internet ever since and it is, indeed, a delightful checklist to keep us focused in the right direction. Curiously, when I read over it this past weekend, it dawned on me that if each of us would try to accomplish just 10 items on Mr. Snell’s list ... (click for more)