Breakfast and Lunch Program Eligibility in California

What are the requirements for the school breakfast program and lunch program in California? Eligibility for national school lunch programs, breakfasts and the Summer Food Service Program determines if low-income households can obtain free or discounted meals for school-aged children. Qualifying for school breakfast program and lunch benefits in California means you can focus your income on other important expenses, while knowing your child/children are receiving the necessary nutrition needed to make it through each school day. Learn more about national school lunch program requirements in CA and how to obtain financial aid for school breakfasts and after-school snacks by reviewing the information below.

 

What are the requirements for the school breakfast program?

If you’re wondering, “What do I need to apply for SBP?”, you need to know that the SBP guidelines, or School Breakfast Program requirements, specify certain eligibility qualifications. Children interested in qualifying for school breakfast programs must be residents of the state of California, and attend kindergarten through 12th grade in public schools. SBP qualifications also require participants to be members of households with incomes (before taxes) at or below 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Your local education authority must provide your household with an application form that allows you to learn how to apply for the school breakfast program for all the children in your home. You are not required to submit a separate application for each child. You should receive the application form at the beginning of each school year. You can apply at any time during the year. You are not obligated to enroll in the program, even if you are eligible. If you qualify for the school breakfast program, then your child/children will receive a nutritionally balanced breakfast at school each morning. To learn more about the requirements for the school breakfast program,download our comprehensive guide.

National School Lunch Program Requirements

For those asking, “What do I need to apply for NSLP?” the first step is to learn about the National School Lunch Program requirements in California. Like the SBP guidelines, for your children to be eligible, you must have a household with an income (before taxes) which is at or below 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. Eligibility for national school lunch programs also depends on legal residency in the state of California and having one or more children attending high school or a lower-school grade. Your local education authority must provide your household with an application form that allows you to apply for the national school lunch program for all the children in your home, simultaneously. And, just like with the breakfast program, you are not obligated to enroll, if eligible, and you can do so at any point in the school year if your household requires such food assistance. When you qualify for the national school lunch program, your child/children can look forward to nutritious daily meals for free, or at a low and affordable cost.

To learn more about eligibility for national school lunch programs, download our free guide.

What do I need to apply for the Summer Food Service Program

In the state of California, your child, or children, are eligible for the Summer Food Service Program if they are 18 years of age or younger. Students may also receive free meals and snacks through the SFSP if they are 18 years of age or older, if they have mental or physical disabilities or if they attend an educational program for the disabled. Meals are available at designated SFSP sites in California. Depending on the site, children may receive one or two meals each day during the summer months when school is out. SFSP sites which mainly serve free meals for migrant children may serve up to three meals each day.

The Special Milk Program

The special milk program is a federally funded meal program, which assists California schools and other agencies in providing children with milk at a reasonable price. This enables all school children to have access to a healthy beverage rich in vitamins A and D and calcium, to help with the growth and development of bones and teeth. Schools must offer pasteurized, fluid milk that meets California’s standards. Milk must be low-fat or fat-free, and may be flavored or unflavored. Lactose-free milk must also be offered.

The Special Milk program is open to any child who is enrolled in a participating school or children’s residential institution. Schools may decide independently to offer milk for free to low-income children. In order to qualify for the Special Milk Program, your children must be residents of the state of California and your household must meet the 130 percentile of the FPL. Your local education authority must provide your household with an application form that allows you to apply for the Special Milk Program for all the children residing in your home. If you receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, or you participate in any other welfare benefits programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), all your children will automatically qualify for free school meals. You may also be eligible for free or low-cost school meals if you are currently receiving unemployment compensation in California.


What Kind of Assistance Does the Department of Social Services Offer?

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) provides various types of assistance benefits to residents of the state. Through the CDSS, individuals and families can obtain temporary cash assistance, food assistance and more. Furthermore, applicants who are eligible for the benefits of one CDSS program will often qualify for the assistance benefits of another. Find out everything you need to know about the services and benefits provided by the Department of Social Services by downloading our helpful CDSS guide.


Who Can Benefit From California’s Department of Social Services?

To receive benefits from the CDSS, you and your family will need to meet certain eligibility criteria. The criteria used to determine an applicant’s eligibility typically include income, age, resources and citizenship, among other factors. Find out if you qualify for California DSS assistance benefits here.