Free and Reduced-Price Meal Benefits

Overview

The Baltimore County Public Schools serve meals each school day, which may be purchased at the published school prices. Meals are available at no cost for students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals. For students attending a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school, meals are available to all students at no cost. For students attending schools that provide breakfast meals under the Maryland Meals for Achievement (MMFA) Program, breakfast meals are available to all students at no cost.

All meals served meet nutrition standards established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

Qualifications

  • Most children in households that receive Food Supplement Program (FSP – formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) benefits or temporary cash assistance (TCA) are eligible to receive meals at no cost. 
  • Foster children who are the legal responsibility of the Department of Social Services or court are eligible to receive meals at no cost. 
  • Children certified as homeless, runaway, or migrant are eligible to receive meals at no cost.
  • If your total household income is the same or less than the amounts on the Income Eligibility Chart below, your child(ren) are eligible to receive meals at no cost.
  •  ALL students attending a CEP school will receive meals at no cost.

Income Eligibility Chart

(Effective July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021) 

Household Size

Annual

Monthly

Twice Per Month

Every Two Weeks

Weekly

1

$23,606

$1,968

$ 984

$908

$ 454

2

31,894

2,658

1,329

1,227

614

3

40,182

3,349

1,675

1,546

773

4

48,470

4,040

2,020

1,865

933

5

56,758

4,730

2,365

2,183

1,092

6

65,046

5,421

2,711

2,502

1,251

7

73,334

6,112

3,056

2,821

1,411

8

81,622

6,802

3,401

3,140

1,570

For each additional member add


$ 8,288


$ 691


$ 346


$ 319


$ 160


How To Apply

To apply online and expedite processing for free or reduced-price meal benefits click  Online Meal Benefit Application.

To obtain a paper copy of the Household Meal Benefit Application (HMBA), contact the Office of Food and Nutrition Services (OFNS) at 443-809-7860. A copy of the HMBA will be mailed to your home address via the U. S. Postal Service.

The paper copy HMBA has both a front and back page, both pages are required for processing. Once you complete the HMBA, please mail to:  Baltimore County Public Schools, Office of Food and Nutrition Services, 9610 Pulaski Park Drive, Suite 219, Baltimore, MD 21220.

To view/download instructions for completing a paper copy of the HMBA, as well as, a Parent/Guardian Question and Answer letter regarding the meal application process, click instructions and Parent Letter.

A Notification of Eligibility Determination letter will be mailed to your home address notifying you of the eligibility status of your child(ren).

Some students are pre-approved to receive meals at no cost. Students in households that are receiving Food Supplement Program (food stamps) or Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) benefits as well as students that are foster, homeless, migrant, and runaway may be pre-approved to receive meal benefits at no cost. Students that are pre-approved will receive a notification letter via U. S. Postal Service stating they are approved for meal benefits for the school year without the requirement to submit a HMBA. If you did not receive a pre-approved notification letter for all of your children in your household, please contact the OFNS at 443-809-7860.

Children attending a CEP school will not need to apply for meal benefits as meals are provided at no cost to all students. If there are students in the household attending a non CEP school, the household will need to submit a HMBA.



Translations

The paper copy of the HMBAs is available in Arabic, Burmese, Chinese (simplified), Nepali, Spanish, Urdu, and Yoruba. Please contact the OFNS at 443-809-7860 to obtain a copy.

The online HMBA is also available in Spanish.

 

Verification

Your child’s(ren’s) eligibility may be verified at any time during the school year.  School officials may request you to send income documentation confirming that your child(ren) should receive free or reduced-price meals.

 

Appeal

Call the OFNS at 443-809-7860, if you have questions or disagree with your child’s(ren’s) eligibility determination.  If a determination cannot be resolved with the OFNS, you may proceed by appealing the decision in writing to:  Mr. Charles L. Patillo, Executive Director, Department of Business Services Operations, Baltimore County Public Schools, 9610 Pulaski Park Drive, Suite 219, Baltimore, MD 21220.

 

Duration of Eligibility

Your child’s(ren’s) eligibility is in effect from the date of eligibility for the current school year and for up to 30 operating days in the subsequent school year. Meal benefit eligibility determinations made in the current year supersedes the previous year meal benefit level. However, this does not apply when the initial eligibility determination was incorrect or when verification of household eligibility does not support the level of benefits for which the household was approved.

Confidentiality

School officials will use the information on the application to determine eligibility of your child(ren).  Please be advised that the name and eligibility status of your child(ren) may be:

  • Given to local Title I officials for allocation and evaluation purposes.
  • Used for the National Assessment of Educational Progress analyses or other authorized purposes.
  • Given to other federal and state education or state health programs.

No other use of this information is permitted without parental consent.

Reapplication

You may apply for free and reduced-price meals at any time during the school year.  If you are not eligible now but have a change such as a decrease in household income, an increase in household size, become unemployed, or receive FSP or TCA for your children, you may fill out an application at that time.

 

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

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) mail:  program.intake@usda.gov

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. 

The Maryland State Department of Education does not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry/national origin, color, disability, gender identity/expression, marital status, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation in matters affecting employment or in providing access to programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. For inquiries related to Department policy, please contact:  Agency Equity Officer, Equity Assurance and Compliance Office, Office of the Deputy State Superintendent for Finance and Administration, Maryland State Department of Education, 200 W. Baltimore Street - 6th Floor, Baltimore, Maryland 21201-2595, 410-767-0426 – voice, 410-767-0431 – fax, 410-333-6442 - TTY/TDD.