Delaware adjusts income level to qualify for subsidized school meals

More Delaware families will qualify for the school subsidized meal program, according to guidelines released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Delaware Department of Education.

The program, which provides impoverished children with nutritious school meals at more affordable prices, is effective July 1 and will continue until June 30, 2013.

The income level has been raised $1,300 for next year.  To meet income eligibility guidelines, a family of four earning $42,643 or less annually to qualify for reduced meals. If a family has an income of $29,965 or below students may qualify for free meals. The qualifying income levels, which are determined nationally, have increased from last year. For the 2011-12 school year, a family of four needed to earn $41,348 annually for meal assistance.

All parents and guardians will receive the meal benefit form in the mail. To apply, simply return the completed form to school where the school nutrition services supervisor will determine eligibility. All provided information will be kept confidential.

If a household’s financial situation should change during the course of the school year, the forms can be resubmitted at any time.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income from 2006-2010 was $57,599 in Delaware compared to the national average of $51,914.

The percentage of people living below poverty in Delaware from 2006-2010 was 11.0%. That’s almost 3% lower than the national average.

The program supplies breakfast, lunch, and a snack.  Delaware school officials say serving breakfast to students is important.  They site studies which show lower absenteeism among other benefits to having a breakfast.   

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