Free and Reduced Eligibility Policy Announced


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Westerville City Schools today announced its 2015-2016 program year policy for free and reduced price meals for students unable to pay the full price of meals served under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program.  Each school office and the Food Service office has a copy of the policy which may be reviewed by any interested party.

The Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines will be used for determining eligibility.  Children from families whose annual income is at or below the Federal Guidelines are eligible for free and reduced price meals.

Westerville City Schools is excited to announce that families can apply on-line for their children to receive free or reduced price school meals.  The application will be sent from a secure website directly to Westerville City Schools.  Your personal information remains confidential and secure.  www.LunchApplication.com has been designed to make it easy for you to know exactly what information you will need to guide you through the process.  Simply go to www.LunchApplication.com and click on Apply Now. 

Paper application forms are also available at each school, the Enrollment Center, and the Food Service Office (125 E. Walnut St.).  To apply for free and reduced price benefits, households should either complete the on-line application at www.LunchApplication.com or fill out the paper application and return it to the school.  A complete application is required.  Households which currently receive Special Nutrition Assistance Program Benefits (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) or Ohio Works First (OWF) funds for a child must provide the child’s name, the SNAP or OWF case number and signature of an adult household member on the application.  Households which do not receive SNAP or OWF funds must provide the names of all household members, the last four digits of the Social Security Number of the adult signing the application or state “none” if the adult does not have a Social Security Number, the amount and source of income received by each household member, (state the income and how often received) and the signature of an adult household member.  If any of this information is missing, the district cannot process the application.

Free Health Care:  Families with children eligible for school meals may be eligible for free health care coverage through Medicaid and/or Ohio’s Healthy Start & Healthy Families programs. These programs include coverage for doctor visits, immunizations, physicals, prescriptions, dental, vision, mental health, substance abuse and more. Please call 1/800/324-8680 for more information or to request an application.  Information can also be found on the web at http://jfs.ohio.gov/ohp/consumers/familychild.stm.  Anyone who has an Ohio Medicaid card is already receiving these services.

The information provided on the application is confidential and will be used only for the purpose of determining eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by school or other program officials.  To discourage the possibility of misrepresentation, the application forms contain a statement above the space for signature certifying that all information furnished is true and correct.  Applications are being made in connection with the receipt of federal funds.  School or other officials may check the information on the application at any time during the school year.  Deliberate misrepresentation of information may subject the applicant to prosecution under applicable state and federal laws.  Households will be notified of the approval or denial of benefits.

Foster children are categorically eligible for free meal benefits regardless of the household’s income.  If a family has foster children living with them and wishes to apply for such meals for them, contact the school for more information.

Under the provision of the policy, Karisa Dennis, DTR, Manager of Food Services and Purchasing, will review applications and determine eligibility.  If a parent or guardian disagrees with the decision on the application or the result of verification, the decision may be discussed with the determining official on an informal basis.  If a formal appeal is desired, the household has the right to a fair hearing.  A fair hearing can be requested either orally or in writing from:  Mark Hershiser, Deputy Superintendent, 936 Eastwind Dr., Westerville, OH  43081.  The policy contains an outline of the hearing procedure.

Households may apply for benefits any time during the school year.  If a household is not currently eligible and if the household size increases or income decreases because of unemployment or other reasons, the family should submit a new application using the www.LunchApplication.com site or submit a new paper application to the Food Service Office.  Such changes may make the children of the family eligible for free or reduced-price benefits if the family income falls at or below the levels shown above.

The U.S Department of Agriculture 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 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 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 (Spanish).  USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.