Student Nutrition Services
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Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What are the income guidelines for the free and reduced program?
  2. How do I apply for free/reduce meal benefits for my child(ren)?
  3. How may I check my child's meal status?
  4. Why was my free and reduced application denied?
  5. Why was my child's application selected for income verification?
  6. How may I find out my child's account balance and history of meal selection?
  7. Where can I go to look at applications in other languages?
  8. What is the procedure for EMERGENCY MEALS?
 

 
  1. What are the income guidelines for the free and reduced program?
    The National School Lunch and Breakfast program use USDA Income Eligibility Guidelines, which are adjusted annually. These guidelines, which is gross annual income and household size, are used when approving applications for children who apply to receive a free or reduced meal. The free guidelines are 130% of Federal poverty guidelines and the reduced are 185% of poverty guidelines. All school sites receive a copy of the revised guidelines each year.  back to top
  2. How do I apply for free/reduced meal benefits for my child(ren)?
    To receive benefits you must complete a three-step process.
    1.) Obtain a household application for free/reduced meals. If you did not receive an application in the mail during the month of July, you can request one from the Healthy Meals Application Center, school's front office, or from your Student Nutrition Service Manager. 
    2.) Return to your child's school or mail to:
    Healthy Meal's Express Application Center
    2920 N 40th Street, Room 260
    Tampa FL 33605
    phone: (813) 840-7066
    fax:      (813)840-7114
    3.) Apply Online: Resumes July 1, 2011
    back to top
  3. How may I check my child's meal status?
    Call the Healthy Meals Express Application Center automated telephone system at 1-866-544-5575.  Please have the student ID (meal number) available when you place your call.  back to top
  4. Why was my free and reduced application denied?
    To understand why an application is denied, it is important to know how the application is reviewed. The Healthy Meals Express Application Center approves all applications based on federal criteria in three different areas: 1) SNAP (food stamp) or TANF families automatically qualify for free meals if a food stamp case number is provided; 2) foster children, who are placed in a home by the state, may qualify for free meals; and 3) income/household families must be evaluated for eligibility based on the size of household and the monthly income. If the application does not meet the federal income guidelines, or if the application is not correctly completed, then it may be denied. If there is a question, contact the Healthy Meals Express Application Center at 813-840-7066.  back to top
  5. Why was my child's application selected for income verification?
    Federal guidelines require all sponsors of the National School Lunch program to conduct income verification of at least 3% of all applications on file by September 30 of each year. Applications are randomly selected for verification by using district-approved procedures. Within a specified time period, Parents/Guardians must provide adequate documentation to substantiate income. If not, then the student could lose free or reduced meal benefits.  back to top
  6. How may I find out my child's account balance and history of meal selection?
    You can get your child's meal account balance and a history of meal selections by calling your student nutrition manager. She or he will either give it to you over the phone or mail it to you. Parents can also access their child's account by visiting the website MealPayPlus.com.  back to top
  7. Where can I go to look at applications in other languages?
    For reference only, parents may view a sample, free and reduced meal application at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/frp/frp.process.htm.  back to top
  8. What is the procedure for Emergency Meals?
    An emergency meal is necessary when a student wants a meal but has no money to pay for it. The procedure for Emergency Meals may be found here.
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Hillsborough County Public Schools, Florida USA

Division of Student Services and Federal Programs
Student Nutrition Services

2920 North 40th Street, Tampa, FL 33605

Main: 813-840-7092 / Fax: 813-840-7112

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or if all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.) If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at program.intake@usda.gov. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (in Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.