FAQ

1. Who can get free or reduced-price meals?
           
  • All children in households receiving SNAP or TFA benefits are eligible for free meals. 
    • NOTE: Some students receiving Medicaid (HUSKY A) benefits are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
  • Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free meals.
    • NOTE:  A foster child is categorically eligible for free melas and may be included as a member of the foster family if the foster family chooses to also apply for benefits for other children. Including children in foster care as household members may help other children in the household qualify for benefits. If non-foster children in a foster family are not eligible for free or reduced-price meal benefits, an eligible foster child will still receive free benefits.
  • Children participating in their school's Head Start program are eligible for free meals.
  • Children who meet the definition of homeless or runaway are eligible for free meals.
  • Children may receive free or reduced-price meals if your household's income is within the limits of the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines. Your children may qualify for  free or reduced-price meals if you household income falls at or below the limits on this chart:
 
Reduced Federal Eligibility Income Chart
Effective 7/1/2023 to 6/30/2024
 Household Size Yearly Monthly Weekly
 1 26,973  2,248 519
 2 36,482  3,041 702
 3 45,991  3,833 885
 4 55,500  4,625 1,068
 5 65,009  5,418 1,251
 6 74,518  6,210 1,434
 7 84,027 7,003 1,616
 8 93,536 7,795 1,799
Each additional
family member
+9,509 +793  +183 

 

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2. How do I know if my children qualify as homeless or runaway? 
           
  • Do the members of your household lack a permanent address?
  • Are you staying together in a shelter, hotel, or other temporary housing arrangement? 
  • Does your family relocate on a seasonal basis?
  • Are any children living with you who have chosen to leave their prior family or household? 
            If you believe children in your household meet these descriptions and you have not been told your children will get free meals, please call or email, Kathie Gabrielson, Director of Pupil Services at:    [email protected]
 
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3. Do I need to fill out an application for each child?
            You do not. Use ONE Free and Reduced-price School Meals Application for all students in your household. We cannot approve an application that is not complete, so be sure to fill out all required information. Return the completed application to 
                   
                  Stafford Public Schools
                  Food Service Department
                  (860) 684-3336
                  ATTN: Beth Lapane
                  21 Levinthal Run
                  Stafford, CT 06076 
                   
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4. Should I fill out an application if I received a  letter this school year saying my children are already approved for free or reduced-price meals?
            No, but please read the letter carefully and follow the instructions. If any children in your household were missing from your eligibility notification, contact Beth Lapane (860) 684-3336 or email [email protected] immediately.
             
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5. My child's application was approved last year, do I need to fill out a new one?
            Yes. Your child's application in only good for that school year and for up to 30 operating days into the new school year (or until a new eligibility determination is made, whichever comes first). When the carryover period ends, unless you are notified that your children are directly certified or you submit an application that is approved, your children's meals must be claimed at the paid rate. Though encouraged to do so, the LEA is not required to send a reminder or a notice of expired eligibility. Even if your school is offering meals at no cost, it is important that you submit an application to ensure that in the subsequent school year, your child will remain eligible for free or reduced-price meals for up to 30 operating days.
             
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6. I have not submitted an application within the past three years. Do I need to fill out a new one?
            Yes. Your child's application is only good for that school year and for up to 30 operating days into the new school year (or until a new eligibility determination is made, whichever comes first). When the carryover period ends, unless you are notified that your children are directly certified or you submit an application that is approved, your children's meals must be claimed at the paid rate. Though encouraged to do so, the LEA is not required to send a reminder or a notice of expired eligibility.
             
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7. If I get Special Supplemental Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) benefits, can my children get free meals?
            Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Please send in an application.
             
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8. Will the information I give be checked?
            Yes. We may also ask you to send written proof of the household income you report.
             
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9. If I don't 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.
             
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10. What if disagree with the school's decision about my application?
            You should talk with school officials. You may also ask for a hearing by calling or writing:
                 
                Beth Lapane
                Director of Food Services
                21 Levinthal Run
                Stafford Springs, CT 06076
                   
                (860)684-3336
                [email protected]
             
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11. May I apply if someone in my household is not a U.S. citizen?
            Yes. You, your children or other household members do not have to be U.S. citizens to apply for free or reduced-price school meals.
             
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12. What if my income is not always the same?
            List the amount that you normally receive. For example, if you normally make $1,000 each month, but you missed some work last month and only made $900, put down that you make $1,000 per month. If you normally get overtime, include it, but do not include it if you only work overtime sometimes. If you have lost a job or had your hours or wages reduced, use your current income.
             
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13. What if some household members have no income to report?
            Household members may not receive some types of income we ask you to report on the application, or may not receive income at all. When this happens, please write "0" in the field. However, if any income fields are left empty or blank, those will also be counted as zeros. Please be careful when leaving income fields blank, as we will assume you meant to do so.
             
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14. We are in the military. Do we report our income differently?
            Your basic pay and cash bonuses must be reported as income. If you get any cash value allowances for off-base housing, food or clothing, or receive Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance payments, these must also be included as income. However, if your housing is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, do not include your housing allowance as income. Any additional combat pay resulting from deployment is also excluded from income.
             
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15. What if there isn't enough space on the application for my family?
            List any additional household members on a separate piece of paper and attach to your application. Contact Beth Lapane (860) 684-3336 or email [email protected]  to receive a second application.
             
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16. My family needs more help. Are there other programs we might apply for?
            To find out how to apply for SNAP benefits and to contact the Department of Social Services office in your town, contact United Way's free referral number 2-1-1 (free call, statewide).
             
             
If you have other questions or need help, call (860) 684-3336

Sincerely, 
Beth LaPane
Director of Food Services

Nondiscrimination Statement: This explains what to do if you believe you have been treated unfairly.

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.


Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.


To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at: https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ad-3027.pdf, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by: 

1.

Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
 2. Fax: (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
3. Email: [email protected]
 
 This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
 
   Grocery bag on the left with eggs, milk, bread and an apple showing out of the top. Under the bag reads "Putting Healthy Food within Reach." To the right of the bag reads "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program." The bag has in large letters, "SNAP"."  Blue banner with an image of the sun on the left bottom corner. Banner reads "Connecticut Department of Social Serivces, Making a Difference."
             
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