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Frequently Asked Questions

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Who can get free meals or reduced price meals?
How do I know if my children qualify as homeless, runaway, or migrant?
I get WIC. Can my children get free meals?
If I don't qualify now, may I apply later?
My household was directly certified for free meals by the school based on our Foster, Food Stamp, or TANF status. Do I also need to fill out a free and reduced application?
My household was approved last school year for benefits. How long do I have once the new school year begins to turn my application in to continue receiving benefits?
My family needs more help. Are there other programs we might apply for?
What if I disagree with the school's decision about my application?
What is the price for meals?
How secure is my online application transaction?
How long after I apply will the status be determined?
Do I need to fill out an application for each child?
Should I fill out an application if I received a letter this school year saying my children are already approved for free meals?
Will the information I give be checked?
May I apply if someone in my household is not a U.S. citizen?
Who should be included when determining my household size or listing the members of my household?
What if my income is not always the same?
We are in the military. Do we report our income differently?
My child’s application was approved last year. Do I need to fill out a new one?


Meal Benefits for Students in Grades 9 - 12

Q: Who can get free meals or reduced price meals?
A:
  • All children in households receiving benefits from SNAP (Food Stamps) or TANF, are eligible for free meals.
  • Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free meals.
  • Children participating in their school's Head Start program are eligible for free meals.
  • Children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant are eligible for free meals.
  • Children may receive free or reduced price meals if your household's income is within the limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines.
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    Q: How do I know if my children qualify as homeless, runaway, or migrant?
    A: Do the members of your household lack a permanent address? Are you staying together in a shelter, hotel, or other temporary housing arrangement? Does your family relocate on a seasonal basis? Are any children living with you who have chosen to leave their prior family or household? If you believe children in your household meet these descriptions and haven't been told your children will get free meals, please call or e-mail Michigan City Area Schools, Micki Webb, micki.webb@mcas.k12.in.us.
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    Q: I get WIC. Can my children get free meals?
    A: Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced price meals. Please fill out an application.
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    Q: If I don't qualify now, may I apply later?
    A: Yes, you may apply at any time during the school year. For example, children with a parent or guardian who becomes unemployed may become eligible for free and reduced price meals if the household income drops below the income limit.
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    Q: My household was directly certified for free meals by the school based on our Foster, Food Stamp, or TANF status. Do I also need to fill out a free and reduced application?
    A: If your household was directly certified by the school, you do not need to fill out a free and reduced application to receive benefits.
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    Q: My household was approved last school year for benefits. How long do I have once the new school year begins to turn my application in to continue receiving benefits?
    A: If a household applied last school year, there is a 30 operating day roll-over starting with the first day of school. If a household does not apply for benefits during this 30 operating day roll-over, the household will lose their benefits after the 30 days, and the household will go back to a paid status.
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    Q: My family needs more help. Are there other programs we might apply for?
    A: To find out how to apply for SNAP (Food Stamps) or other assistance benefits, contact your local assistance office or call 1-800-403-0864.
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    General

    Q: What if I disagree with the school's decision about my application?
    A: You should talk to school officials. You also may ask for a hearing by calling or writing to: Michigan City Area Schools Food Service, 1100 S. Woodland Ave., Michigan City, IN 46360, (219) 873-2131.
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    Q: What is the price for meals?
    A: Please see our Michigan City Area Schools Food Service website for meal prices.
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    Security

    Q: How secure is my online application transaction?
    A: Highest... 128 bit encryption
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    Applications

    Q: How long after I apply will the status be determined?
    A: The information is forwarded to the school district before your confirmation is sent. Please contact your student's school to determine when the benefits should start.
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    Q: Do I need to fill out an application for each child?
    A: No. Use one Free and Reduced Price School Meals Application for all students in your household. We cannot approve an application that is not complete, so be sure to fill out all required information. Return the application to Michigan City Area Schools Food Service, 1100 S. Woodland Ave., Michigan City, IN 46360, (219) 873-2131.
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    Q: Should I fill out an application if I received a letter this school year saying my children are already approved for free meals?
    A: No, but please read the letter you got carefully and follow the instructions. If any children in your household were missing from your eligibility notification, contact (219) 873-2131, ext. 1, immediately.
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    Q: Will the information I give be checked?
    A: Yes. We may also ask you to send written proof of the household income you report.
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    Q: May I apply if someone in my household is not a U.S. citizen?
    A: Yes. You, your children, or other household members do not have to be U.S. citizens to apply for free or reduced price meals.
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    Q: Who should be included when determining my household size or listing the members of my household?
    A: You must include all of the people living in your household, related or not (such as grandparents, other relative, or friends). You must include yourself and all children who live with you.
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    Q: What if my income is not always the same?
    A: List the amount that you normally receive. For example, if you normally make $1000 each month, but you missed some work last month and only made $900, put down that you make $1000 per month. If you normally get overtime, include it, but do not include it if you only work overtime sometimes. If you have lost a job or had your hours or wages reduced, use your current income.
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    Q: We are in the military. Do we report our income differently?
    A: Your basic pay and cash bonuses must be reported as income. If you get any cash value allowances for off-base housing, food, or clothing, it must also be included as income. However, if your housing is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, do not include your housing allowance as income. Any additional combat pay resulting from deployment is also excluded from income.
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    Q: My child’s application was approved last year. Do I need to fill out a new one?
    A: Yes. Your child’s application is only good for that school year and for the first few days of this school year. You must send in a new application unless the school told you that your child is eligible for the new school year. If you do not send in a new application that is approved by the school or you have not been notified that your child is eligible for free meals, your child will be charged the full price of meals.
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    Could not find an answer to your question?
    If your question was not answered in our FAQ, please contact Michigan City Area Schools Food Service (219) 873-2131, extension 1.

    USE OF INFORMATION STATEMENT: This explains how we will use the information you give us. The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act requires the information on this application. You do not have to give the information, but if you do not, we cannot approve your child for free or reduced price meals. You must include the last four digits of the social security number of the adult household member who signs the application. The social security number is not required when you apply on behalf of a foster child or you list a Food Stamp (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) case number for your child or other FDPIR identifier or when you indicate that the adult household member signing the application does not have a social security number. We will use your information to determine if your child is eligible for free or reduced price meals, and for administration and enforcement of the lunch and breakfast programs. We MAY share your eligibility information with education, health and nutrition programs to help them evaluate, fund or determine benefits for their programs, auditors for program reviews and law enforcement officials to help them look into violations of program rules.

    Non-discrimination Statement: This explains what to do if you believe you have been treated unfairly. 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: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, 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: program.intake@usda.gov. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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