SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The Utah State Board of Education has announced a policy for free and reduced-price meals and free milk for children unable to pay the full price in school this year.

The meals will be served under the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, After School Snack, and Special Milk programs. Utah schools participating in these programs will be giving out information and accepting applications after July 1 for the 2023-2024 school year.

The criteria for eligibility includes household size and income. Children or households currently approved for Food Stamps (SNAP), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), Family Employment Program (FEP), or some Medicaid programs are eligible for free or reduced meal or milk benefits.

Courtesy of Utah State Board of Education

Officials said there are two ways a household can qualify for free meals: The Local Education Authority (LEA) will approve children for free meals through the direct certification process and no application is required for free meal benefits, or the household may contact the LEA notifying them of which assistance program they participate in.

Application forms or instructions to complete an online application form for those not directly certified have reportedly been sent home, including a letter to parents or guardians. Once the application is filled out, please return it to your school or district office.

The household must provide the following information listed on the application:

  • Names of all household members
  • Last four digits of the Social Security Number of the adult completing the application, or a statement that the person does not possess one
  • Income received by each household member with income frequency and income source noted
  • Signature of an adult household member certifying that the information provided is correct

Applications may be submitted at any time during the year to the school. If a member of the household becomes unemployed or if the household situation changes, the family should contact the school.

Foster children who are legal wards of the court or state are eligible for free meal benefits.