Not all Pa. children will get free school meals this fall

Written by on July 9, 2022

Not all Pa. children will get free school meals this fall

By Megan Frank
July 9, 2022

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is eliminating universal free meals for kids, a program that was put in place early in the pandemic.  

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PADOE) says some students will still be eligible for free or discounted meals, but notes that the USDA has also changed its eligibility guidelines. 

The new guidelines apply to initiatives such as the National School Lunch Program.

PADOE says the revised rules focus on the needs of individual families, rather than a blanket approach for everyone. 

Under the changes, for example, a family of four is eligible for free meals and free milk only if the household yearly income is no more than $36,075.

Families who want to receive benefits need to fill out a “Household Meal Benefit Application” on Pennsylvania’s COMPASS website.   

People who are already members of programs like SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, will also need to fill out the form. 

The new rules continue through spring of 2023.

The USDA says the following annual income eligibility guidelines are effective July 1, 2022:

Family SizeFree Meals or Milk(130% of Poverty Guidelines)Reduced Price Meals(185% of Poverty Guidelines)Not Eligible for Free or Reduced Price Meals or Milk
One$0 to $17,667$17,668 to $25,142$25,143 and up
Two$0 to $23,803$23,804 to $33,874$33,875 and up
Three$0 to $29,939$29,940 to $42,606$42,607 and up
Four$0 to $36,075$36,076 to $51,338$51,339 and up
Five$0 to $42,211$42,212 to $ 60,070$60,071 and up
Six$0 to $48,347$48,348 to $68,802$68,803 and up
Seven$0 to $54,483$54,484 to $77,534$77,535 and up
Eight$0 to $60,619$60,620 to $86,266$86,267 and up

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