MY CHILD’S SCHOOL IS CLOSED, AND THEY RECEIVE FREE/REDUCED PRICE BREAKFAST AND LUNCH. HOW WILL THEY BE ABLE TO ACCESS THESE MEALS?
School districts that are starting the 2020/2021 school year in full remote learning or hybrid (some in-person instruction and some remote) learning models can still provide meals to children who qualify for free or reduced price breakfast and lunch. The way in which these meals are provided varies by district. Some are using school busses to deliver meals to students’ homes, while others are setting up designated pickup spots for families to receive prepackaged meals. If your child normally receives free or reduced price meals at school, please contact your district to determine how to register for them for the coming school year. If your child’s school was a Community Eligibility school (meaning all students received free meals without the need for an application due to the large proportion of students who would qualify for free/reduced price meals) please contact your district to determine if this is still the case for the 2020/2021 school year, as Community Eligibility designation can change from year to year.
As part of the CARES Act, the Department of Social Services is issuing additional SNAP benefits to families of children who receive free lunches and families of children who attend Community Eligibility schools, which are schools in which all students receive free lunches due to the high proportion of students who would be financially eligible. The maximum benefit under this program is $420 per eligible child. These began to be distributed to eligible families during the summer of 2020, and are still being distributed via mail. There is no registration required for these benefits – if your child was signed up to receive free/reduced price lunches for the 2019/2020 school year or was enrolled in a Community Eligibility school, you will receive these benefits automatically. Eligible families already enrolled in SNAP will receive these benefits added to their SNAP balance, while eligible families who do not have SNAP benefits may be issued new SNAP cards. Although this is not part of the regular SNAP program, the benefits may only be used to purchase SNAP-eligible food products. These benefits are not refundable or transferrable, and do not count as “income” or “resources” for tax or means-tested-benefit purposes.