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Eligibility Guidelines for Child Nutrition Programs 2019-20 Announced

Child nutrition programs


This federal program is aimed to help guarantee that children in the United States have proper access to nutritious food. The program offers meals in a variety of manners including the provision of food in schools, summer programs, childcare homes, and after school programs. The brief description of the components of this program includes;


  1. National School Lunch Program (NSLP)

The NSLP is a federally funded meal program working in public, not for profit private schools and childcare institutions providing nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day since 1946.

  1. School Breakfast Program (SBP)

This program offers reimbursement to states to provide nonprofit breakfast programs in schools and residential childcare institutions. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), States and local food authorities manage this program at respective levels.

  1. Special Milk Program (SMP) 

This program supply milk to children in schools and childcare institutions who do not participate in other federal meal assistance programs. The schools are reimbursed for the milk they provide to children especially pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs where kids do not have the right to use to the school meal programs.

  1. Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

This program also provides reimbursements for food to entitled children & adults, registered for assistance at different participating childcare centers, day-care homes, and adult daycare centers. Under this program, the centers are reimbursed for food offered in afterschool care programs, children residing in emergency shelters, seniors above 60 years or disabled.

  1. Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)

This program is funded and managed by the federal government pays back operators who provide free meals and snacks to children and teens in low-income localities.

  1. Team Nutrition (TN)

This is again a USDA endeavor to assist the child nutrition programs through technical assistance for foodservice, diet education for children, their care-providers, school and community support.

  1. Office Community Food Systems (OCSF)

The Office of Community Food Systems supports program operators incorporate local foods in the programs as mentioned earlier. Additionally, OCFS staff also coordinates with tribal communities to answer to their desire to better include traditional foods into our meal programs through the provision of funding, technical assistance, and research.

Eligibility criterion 2019-20


In March 2019 the USDA food and Nutritious Service announce the eligibility criterion for the Child Nutritious Program known as the Income Eligibility Guidelines. These are used to verify the qualification of the applicants for free and subsidized price meals and free milk from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020.


These guidelines are supposed to be used by institutions and other services participating in the different components of the Child Nutritious Program. The eligibility guidelines are adjusted on an annual basis and required by section 9 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to align with the changing Consumer Price Index.


This current notice of adjustments in the eligibility requirements has been decided to be not significant and was not evaluated by the Office of Management and Budget. The related programs are listed in the Assistance Listings and are subject to the provisions of Executive Order, which needs intergovernmental coordination with officials at the local and state level.



These given eligibility guidelines are developed following the Federal income poverty guidelines with family size as a major basis in harmony with appropriate program rules.


What is Income



For the school program, as it is formally known, the Food and Nutrition Service’s eligibility manual defines ‘Income’ as the earning before any form of deduction i.e. income taxes, Social Security taxes, insurance premiums, contributions in charity, etc.

It includes;

  1. Wages, salary, commissions or fees;
  2. Income from farm & nonfarm self-employment;
  • Social Security payments;
  1. Bonus or profit on savings or bonds including income from trusts;
  2. Rental income;
  3. public support or welfare payments including unemployment assistance:
  • retirement pension payments;
  • child support payments;
  1. Private donations from persons not included in the household;
  2. net royalties; and


It is important to mention that “Income”, here, does not include any cash or benefits obtained under any program administered through Federal government, that are barred from consideration as income by any legal exclusion.


On top of this, the price of food or milk to children shall not be taken as income to their households for other benefit programs.



Income Eligibility

The following are the Income Eligibility conditions for the families to qualify for the Child Nutrition program for the period starting from July 2019 to June 2020. The Department’s guidelines for this federal assistance for children were calculated by multiplying last year’s minimum wages with income poverty guidelines by 1.30 and 1.85, respectively, and by rounding the sum upward to the next whole dollar.

This notice reflects only the annual Federal poverty guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as the monthly and weekly guidelines are not used to establish income eligibility.

These are rather calculated based on the following formulas:

  • For monthly income Annual income is divided by 12;
  • Bimonthly income is worked out by dividing annual income by 24;
  • Weekly income is figured by dividing annual income by 52.


The numbers reflected in these adjusted guidelines are for a family of four in the 48 contiguous States, the District of Columbia, Guam and the territories represent an increase of 2.6 percent over last year’s level for a family of the same size.





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