You are here
News Release - Colorado Free and Reduced-Price School Meal Policy for 2022-23 School Year
July 1, 2022
Colorado Free and Reduced-Price School Meal Policy for 2022-23 School Year
For questions about Free and Reduced Lunch, visit this webpage.
DENVER -- Determining Eligibility for School Meals
The Colorado Department of Education’s School Nutrition Unit announces the policy for determining the eligibility of children who may receive free and reduced-price school meals [or free milk] served under Colorado School Food Authorities that participate in the National School Lunch (NSLP), School Breakfast Programs (SBP), and/or Special Milk Program (SMP).
Households that apply July 1, 2022, through Aug. 15, 2022, may also be eligible for the Summer 2022 Pandemic-Electronic Benefits Transfer program. Households can continue to apply for free or reduced-price school meals at any time throughout the school year but will need to meet the August 15th deadline in order to be considered for Summer 2022 P-EBT benefits.
How to Apply
Applications for free and reduced-price school meals, instructions and an informational letter to households are available at your local school and/or school district office. Only one application is required for all children in the household. The information provided on the application is confidential and will be used only for the purpose of determining eligibility. Immigration, migrant, citizenship or refugee status is not required to be provided during the application process, and households should continue to apply for free or reduced-price 201 E. Colfax Ave. Denver, CO 80203 Phone: 303-866-2334 school meals. The application does require the last four numbers of a Social Security number or an indication that there is no Social Security number. Social Security number information is not reported to any organization outside of your school and/or school district.
Applications from households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) benefits or Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF/Colorado Works, Basic Cash Assistance or State Diversion) benefits need to provide the respective case number and the signature of an adult household member. Eligibility for free school meals is extended to all children in the household when the application provides a case number for any household member.
Households that qualify based on income, must provide the names of all household members related or not (such as grandparents, other relatives or friends), the amount of gross income each household member receives, the frequency and source of pay, the signature of an adult household member and the last four digits of that adult household member’s Social Security number—or check the box if the adult household member does not have a social security number. School district or program officials may verify the information on the application at any time during the school year.
Households with children who are eligible under the Head Start, homeless, migrant, or runaway programs should contact the school for assistance in receiving meal benefits. To complete an application, the household must mark the relevant box to indicate their appropriate eligibility and the signature of an adult household member is required.
Foster children who are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free school meals. Any foster child in the household is eligible for free school meals regardless of income. If a household has only foster children in the home and wishes to apply for free school meals, the application should be completed using the instructions for households with foster children only. If a household has foster and non-foster children living with them and wishes to apply for free school meals, the application should be completed using the instructions for households with foster and non-foster children residing in the home. Including foster children as household members may help other children in the household qualify for school meal benefits. If the foster family is not eligible to receive school meal benefits, it does not prevent a foster child from receiving free school meals.
An application cannot be approved unless it contains complete eligibility information as indicated on the application and instructions.
When determined by the school district, that members of a household are receiving assistance from SNAP, TANF or FDPIR, households will be notified of their children’s eligibility for free school meals. If the household receives such notice, no application is required for free or reduced-price school meal benefits. If any children in the household were not listed on the eligibility notice or not listed on the application, the household should contact the district to have benefits extended to all children in the household. When determined by the school district, that an individual child is categorized as homeless, migrant, or runaway or is enrolled in an eligible Head Start program, households will be notified of the child’s eligibility for free school meals. For any children not listed on the eligibility notice, the household should contact the school district about eligibility under one of these programs or should submit an application for other children.
The school district will notify households of their children’s eligibility for free or reduced-price school meals. The eligibility is valid for the current school year and a carryover period of up to 30 operating days into the next school year. When the carryover period ends, unless the household is notified that their children are 2 201 E. Colfax Ave. Denver, CO 80203 Phone: 303-866-2334 directly certified or the household submits an application that is approved, the school will not send a reminder or a notice of expired eligibility and the children must pay full price for school meals. Households notified of their children’s eligibility for free or reduced-price school meals must contact the school district if they choose to decline meal benefits.
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) participants may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Please contact your school district.
Under the provision of the free and reduced-price school meal policy, the designated determining official for each Colorado school food authority will review applications and determine eligibility. If a household is dissatisfied with the decision, a request may be made to discuss the decision with the determining official. A formal request for a hearing to appeal the decision of the determining official may be made orally or in writing to the designated district hearing official. Contact the local school and/ or district office for the name, address and phone number of the designated hearing official. Each school district has a copy of the complete free and reduced-price school meal policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party. The policy contains an outline of the hearing procedure.
Applications may be submitted at any time during the school year. The household may complete an application if any household member(s) have a decrease in income, become unemployed, have an increase in family size, become eligible for SNAP, TANF or FDPIR benefits or become categorically eligible. If you are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals, you may be eligible for SNAP.
For more information on SNAP please visit:
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, 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 3 201 E. Colfax Ave. Denver, CO 80203 Phone: 303-866-2334
2. fax: (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or