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Families Encouraged to Return Income Information for School Meal Programs

While all students may be provided meals at no charge to them during school year 2021–2022, it is critical that eligible families complete the family income information this fall.

This press release is shared with our Riverview families, courtesy of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and Riverview's Food Services team.

For more information, please contact Robin Budig, Riverview's Food Services Program Assistant, via email at

To access Free and Reduced Meal Applications and more information on the Free and Reduced Meal program, please click below:

Many students across Washington state rely on school meals to meet their nutritional needs. As the economic impacts of COVID-19 continue, more students are eligible to receive meals at no charge to their families.

School district operations may vary across the state due to flexibilities allowed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Families should contact their local school district to find out how meals are being offered.

While districts are able to provide meals at no charge to all enrolled students through the end of school year 21–22 families are strongly encouraged to complete meal applications or family income surveys.

Information collected in school meal applications and family income surveys help students access district or community reduced fee benefits. In addition, the information may be used to qualify eligible children for SY 21–22 and summer 2022 P-EBT if programs are extended.

Completing these forms is simple and confidential. There are no citizenship requirements for participation in federal Child Nutrition Programs, and immigration status is not requested or disclosed.

Information obtained from family income forms is used to determine student eligibility for several school programs. In addition, the information can help increase funding for before and after school academic programs, guidance and college counselors, fee waivers for college applications and admissions tests, as well has help provide healthy and nutritious meals.

All households with students in grades K–12 receive application packets at the beginning of the school year. The application packet provides instructions and directions on where to send the materials.

In addition, many schools make meal applications available electronically. Free and Reduced-Price Meal Applications are reviewed, and determinations are made within 10 operating days of receipt of the application. Households denied eligibility can appeal the decision by contacting their school.

Meal applications can be submitted any time during the school year. Households that experience a change in income due to job loss or other circumstances are encouraged to apply.


Students receiving help through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/Basic Food Program – as well as all other students in the same household – automatically qualify for free meals. Children participating in specific Medicaid programs may also qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) provides the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) with a list of children who receive these services to facilitate automatic eligibility. Households notified of their children’s eligibility must contact the school if the household chooses to decline the free meal benefits.

Children placed in foster care are eligible for free meal benefits and are also included in the list provided to OSPI. In foster households, all other students in the household may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals based on household size and income. In these situations, households may submit an application.

Students experiencing homelessness, students enrolled in Migrant Education Programs, households taking part in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, and students in Head Start and Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program are eligible for free meals. Families should contact their child’s school for more information.

Eligibility lasts from the date of approval up to the first 30 operating days of the next school year or until a family contacts the school or district.

Households needing assistance with applications materials in languages other than English should contact their school for assistance.

The income eligibility guidelines listed below are used to determine the eligibility of children to receive free or reduced-price meals or free milk. Washington state legislation pays the cost of breakfast and lunch for public school students eligible for reduced-price meals in grades pre-K‒12 .

USDA Child Nutrition Program Income Guidelines

The following income guidelines for eligibility for free meals and reduced-price meals apply from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022.

Free Meals

Reduced-Price Meals

If you have questions about eligibility, please contact your child’s school.

Schools with more than 25% of the enrolled K–4 students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals are required to operate the National School Lunch Program. In addition, schools with more than 40% of enrolled students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals are required to operate the School Breakfast Program.

For More Information

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter 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;

  2. Fax: (202) 690-7442; or

  3. Email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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