Free or Reduced Price Meal Application

Please read the following carefully before moving on. 

Please submit only ONE application per household.  All members of the household should be included in the application. Filling out more than one application will delay the processing of your application.  If you submit an online application, you will NOT need to fill out the paper application. 

Before starting the application, make sure you have either  the SNAP or TANF case number for a member of your household or the GROSS INCOME (before any taxes or deductions) for all household members The online screen cannot sit unattended for more than 10 minutes.  If left unattended for more than 10 minutes, the system will automatically log you out.

Upon completion of the application you will receive a message that your application has been successfully submitted along with an application number. Please print this page for your records or write down the application number.

If you provided a valid email address on your application, you will receive an email confirming receipt of your application. Online applications are generally processed within 2-3 business days. If the student is new to Pasco County or changing schools this could delay the process. Until your application is processed, you will need to provide your child(ren) a meal from home or send money to purchase school meals. Once the application is processed, you will receive an email with the confirmation letter or a letter mailed to the address on file 

To continue directly to our online free and reduced-price meal application, click the button below or continuing reading for more information and frequently asked questions about Free and Reduced Price Meal eligibility.

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The District School Board of Pasco County participates in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. Through these programs we offer free and reduced-price meals to students from families who meet certain eligibility requirements as determined by the United States Department of Agriculture. Each new school year all students must be requalified for participation in the program. Students are qualified for free or reduced-price meals through three (3) different methods. The first method is through direct certification; the second is through categorical eligibility; and the third is through the free and reduced-price meal application process.

Qualification Methods

Direct Certification

This process involves a computer match of district students to information provided by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which identifies students in households receiving SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) formerly Food Stamps, TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), Medicaid, or FDPIR (Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations) benefits as eligible for free or reduced price meals. If you qualify, you will receive electronic or written notification upon approval. This eligibility can be extended to any other students living in the same household. If you do not receive approval for all students in your household, please contact FNS at fns@pasco.k12.fl.us or 813-794-2281 to extend the eligibility.

 

Categorical Eligibility

Participation in certain programs such as Headstart, Early Headstart, Students in Transition, Foster Care, or the Migrant Education Program automatically qualifies the student for free meal benefits. A liaison from each program will provide enrollment information directly to Food and Nutrition Services and benefits are applied automatically. These benefits do not extend to other students within the household.

 

Free and Reduced-Price Meal Application Process

The online application becomes available in mid-July each year.  Only one (1) application is needed per household. Students are qualified through the application process based on the total number of household members and the combined income of the household members. If a member of the household receives SNAP or TANF benefits, the case number can be entered at the start of the application. All students are automatically qualified and household income information is not needed.  Students who are considered Foster (placed in the household by a court or State Agency) automatically qualify for benefits. If there are other children in the household with the foster child, they will be qualified based on the household’s income. Paper applications are available from the front office of your child’s school, or by contacting FNS directly. Online applications are encouraged, due to the high number of errors and increased processing time of paper applications.

If you have any questions on how to complete the application, please call (813) 794-2281; (727) 774-2281 or (352) 524–2281 for assistance or email fns@pasco.k12.fl.us .

 

Are households required to submit meal applications?

No, households not interested in qualifying for free or reduced-price meals are not required to submit meal applications at their child’s school site and cannot be forced to complete an application.

 

Which household members should be listed on the Free and Reduced-Price Meal Application?

All household members should be listed on the meal application. All students attending Pasco County schools  (except Pepin Academy) should be listed in the Student’s section of the application. All other household members not attending a Pasco County school are listed in Household Members section of the application. Household members would include ALL family and ALL non-family members living in the same household.

 

How can a household determine if they may qualify for the free and reduced meal program prior to applying?

Income guidelines are available at the start of the application.

 

Must all household members list income in order to qualify for free and reduced-price meals?

 Unless a SNAP or TANF case number is provided on the application, all household members must list all forms of income on the application.

 

Does a household list net income or gross income on the meal application?

Households must list their gross monthly income. Gross income is defined as all earnings received before any deductions are taken.

 

Why do students have to claim income on the meal application?

Students must disclose any income as part of a total household’s income, according to the Federal guidelines of the program. If a student has income from any full or part-time employment or if they receive Social Security Benefits, they will need to include this.

 

What if a household applying for the free and reduced-price meal program does not have any income to report?

Households reporting zero income will be allowed to receive free meals. These households will be selected during the verification process and asked to either provide proof of income or proof of how monthly household expenses are being paid.

 

Who is responsible for signing the application?

The adult household member that fills out the application must sign and date the. If the student is an emancipated minor living on their own or in a group home, the student may select the emancipated minor option and sign the application themselves. If the student is over 18 and still living at home, they may sign the application, but must still include all members of the household and associated income.

 

Does the person signing the application have to have a social security number?

No, if the person signing the application does not have a social security number.

 

How long does it take to process a meal application?

According to USDA guidelines, Food and Nutrition Services has up to ten (10) working days to process an application from the date received in the Food and Nutrition Services District Office.

 

How will households be notified the results of the application process?

Food and Nutrition Services will notify households of the results of the application process through an email (if an email address is provided on the application) or a letter mailed to the home.

 

What if a household disagrees with the results of the application process?

A household member(s) may discuss it with Food and Nutrition Services District Office. This can be done by phone or an appeal in writing to the Food and Nutrition Services District Office.

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If a household is participating in the WIC program (a special supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children) do they automatically qualify for free meals?

No, households participating in WIC would need to complete a meal application. Please have the family complete a free and reduced-price meal application. Eligibility is determined based on total household size and total household gross monthly income.

 

What does a household whose economic situation changes during a school year need to do?

If a family’s total household income decreases or the numbers of household members increase; i.e., birth of a new baby, grandparents move in, etc., then a family should fill out a new meal application for the household.

 

What if a new student at a school site is transferring from another Pasco County school and is already qualified as free or reduced? Does the student need to fill out a new application?

If the student is transferring from another Pasco County school, they do not need to complete a new application. Their meal account and status will transfer with them. Any student transferring from outside of Pasco County will need to complete an application.

 

May I put my child’s nickname on the application?

No. Please write your child’s full name that was used to register him/her in school. Otherwise the application could be delayed.

 

My children attend different Pasco County schools. How many applications do I need to complete?

Only one application listing all students living in your household is required, no matter what schools they attend.

 

My household was approved for reduced price meals. What price do I have to pay for meals?

Reduced price breakfast is $0.30 daily, and reduced price lunch is $0.40 daily.

 

Are there any other languages available?

Online applications are currently available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

 

Is there a time limit on when I can apply for free or reduced meals?

No. You may apply for free or reduced-price meal benefits at any time during the school year.

 

What is verification?

Verification is a process administered by Food and Nutrition Services District Office where a percentage of households that qualified for free or reduced-price meals are asked to provide proof of income to ensure the households are not receiving free or reduced-price meals in error. The verification process begins October 1st. Households selected to participate will be notified and given instructions on how to comply in a letter mailed to the home from Food and Nutrition Services. Please refer all questions regarding this process to (813) 794-2480.

 

If a household or school site has more questions regarding the Free and Reduced-Price Meal Application process, who do they call?

For further questions, please call Food and Nutrition Services District Offices between the hours of 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday or email fns@pasco.k12.fl.us

 

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