Free and Reduced MealsFree and Reduced Meals(es)

Free and reduced-priced meals are available for children whose family qualifies based on size of household and income level. The household eligibility guidelines, as well as the policies governing this program, are determined annually by the State of Illinois and the federal government. Approximately 50% of District 59’s students qualify to receive this assistance.

Prior to the beginning of the school year, the District receives notice from the Illinois State Board of Education for families who have qualified for free meals through a Direct Certification process.  Other families may become eligible for meal benefits by completing an Application for Free and Reduced-Price Meals.

Parents/Guardians who are not determined to be Direct Certified are provided information regarding the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program in a summer mailing.  The information includes the Household Eligibility Guidelines as well as the current application form.

Parents are responsible for completing and submitting the application to the District’s School Nutrition Department with appropriate and accurate information. Failure to provide complete information will result in being ineligible for benefits.  Misrepresenting information on an application is considered fraud.

Only one application per family should be submitted.  Families will be notified of their benefit status by letter within 10 days.  Families must re-apply for meal benefits every year.

Annually, the state requires a random verification to ensure that only those families who are eligible are receiving meal benefits. Families who are selected for verification must provide the requested documentation to prove that the information on the application is accurate and qualifies for continued meal benefits.

Free and Reduced Meal Applications for 17-18 School Year


 Application Questions and Answers:

  1. Do I need to fill out an application for each child? No. Use one Household Eligibility Application for all students in your household per district.  We cannot approve an application that is not complete, so be sure to complete all required information.  Return the completed application.
  2. Who can get free meals?  Children in households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and foster children can get free meals regardless of your income.  Also, if your household income is within the limits on the Federal Income Chart, your children can get free or reduced-price meals.  Children who qualify for homeless, runaway, or migrant also qualify for free meals.
  3.  Who can get reduced meals?  Children can get low cost meals if your household income is within the reduced price limits on the Federal Eligibility Income Chart.
  4. A member of my household receives SNAP or TANF benefits.  I received a letter stating that my child is automatically approved for free meals based on direct certification.  Do I need to do anything more to ensure that I receive free meals for my child? No. You do not need to do anything more to receive the free meals.  If you have students not listed on the letter, contact the school immediately.  If you do not wish to receive the free meals, notify the school personnel immediately.
  5. My child’s application was approved last year. Do I need to fill out another one? Yes. Your child’s application from the previous year is only good for the first 30 days of the new school year. You must send in a new application unless you received a letter stating your child is eligible for  the new school year.
  6. I get WIC. Can my child(ren) get free meals? Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Please fill out an application.
  7. Will the information I give be checked? Yes, we may ask you to send written proof of the information you give.
  8. If I don’t qualify now, may I apply later?  Yes.  You may apply at any time during the school year should your household circumstances change.
  9. What if I disagree with the school’s decision about my application? You should talk to school officials. You also may ask for a hearing by calling 847-593-4338 or 847-593-4341.
  10. May I apply if someone in my household is not a U.S. citizen? Yes. You or your child(ren) do not have to be a U.S. citizen to qualify for free or reduced-price meals.
  11. 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 live with you.
  12. What if my income is not always the same? List the amount that you normally receive. For example, if you normally get $1000 each month, but you missed some work last month and only got $900, put down that you get $1000 per month. If you normally get overtime, include it, but not if you get it only sometimes.
  13. 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.
  14. My spouse is deployed in a combat zone. Is his/her combat pay counted as income? No. If the combat pay is received in addition to the basic pay because of deployment and it wasn’t received before the deployment, combat pay is not counted as income.
  15. My family needs more help. Are there other programs we might apply for? To find out how to apply for SNAP, TANF, or other assistance benefits, contact your local Department of Human Services office or call (800) 843-6154 (voice) or (800) 447-6406 (TTY).

Free and reduced-priced meals are available for children whose family qualifies based on size of household and income level. The household eligibility guidelines, as well as the policies governing this program, are determined annually by the State of Illinois and the federal government. Approximately 50% of District 59’s students qualify to receive this assistance.

Prior to the beginning of the school year, the District receives notice from the Illinois State Board of Education for families who have qualified for free meals through a Direct Certification process.  Other families may become eligible for meal benefits by completing an Application for Free and Reduced-Price Meals.

Parents/Guardians who are not determined to be Direct Certified are provided information regarding the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program in a summer mailing.  The information includes the Household Eligibility Guidelines as well as the current application form.

Parents are responsible for completing and submitting the application to the District’s School Nutrition Department with appropriate and accurate information. Failure to provide complete information will result in being ineligible for benefits.  Misrepresenting information on an application is considered fraud.

Only one application per family should be submitted.  Families will be notified of their benefit status by letter within 10 days.  Families must re-apply for meal benefits every year.

Annually, the state requires a random verification to ensure that only those families who are eligible are receiving meal benefits. Families who are selected for verification must provide the requested documentation to prove that the information on the application is accurate and qualifies for continued meal benefits.

Free and Reduced Meal Applications for 17-18 School Year


 Application Questions and Answers:

  1. Do I need to fill out an application for each child? No. Use one Household Eligibility Application for all students in your household per district.  We cannot approve an application that is not complete, so be sure to complete all required information.  Return the completed application.
  2. Who can get free meals?  Children in households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and foster children can get free meals regardless of your income.  Also, if your household income is within the limits on the Federal Income Chart, your children can get free or reduced-price meals.  Children who qualify for homeless, runaway, or migrant also qualify for free meals.
  3.  Who can get reduced meals?  Children can get low cost meals if your household income is within the reduced price limits on the Federal Eligibility Income Chart.
  4. A member of my household receives SNAP or TANF benefits.  I received a letter stating that my child is automatically approved for free meals based on direct certification.  Do I need to do anything more to ensure that I receive free meals for my child? No. You do not need to do anything more to receive the free meals.  If you have students not listed on the letter, contact the school immediately.  If you do not wish to receive the free meals, notify the school personnel immediately.
  5. My child’s application was approved last year. Do I need to fill out another one? Yes. Your child’s application from the previous year is only good for the first 30 days of the new school year. You must send in a new application unless you received a letter stating your child is eligible for  the new school year.
  6. I get WIC. Can my child(ren) get free meals? Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Please fill out an application.
  7. Will the information I give be checked? Yes, we may ask you to send written proof of the information you give.
  8. If I don’t qualify now, may I apply later?  Yes.  You may apply at any time during the school year should your household circumstances change.
  9. What if I disagree with the school’s decision about my application? You should talk to school officials. You also may ask for a hearing by calling 847-593-4338 or 847-593-4341.
  10. May I apply if someone in my household is not a U.S. citizen? Yes. You or your child(ren) do not have to be a U.S. citizen to qualify for free or reduced-price meals.
  11. 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 live with you.
  12. What if my income is not always the same? List the amount that you normally receive. For example, if you normally get $1000 each month, but you missed some work last month and only got $900, put down that you get $1000 per month. If you normally get overtime, include it, but not if you get it only sometimes.
  13. 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.
  14. My spouse is deployed in a combat zone. Is his/her combat pay counted as income? No. If the combat pay is received in addition to the basic pay because of deployment and it wasn’t received before the deployment, combat pay is not counted as income.
  15. My family needs more help. Are there other programs we might apply for? To find out how to apply for SNAP, TANF, or other assistance benefits, contact your local Department of Human Services office or call (800) 843-6154 (voice) or (800) 447-6406 (TTY).

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