News Release

September 10, 2021


The Nebraska Department of Education’s Office of Nutrition Services has announced the Income Eligibility Guidelines for free and reduced-price meals for those unable to pay the full price of meals served under the National School Lunch, Breakfast, Special Milk, and Child and Adult Care Food Programs (CACFP).

Participating schools, child care, and adult care centers have a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party. During the 2021-22 school year, districts that participate in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs may choose to offer no-cost meals to all enrolled students through the Seamless Summer Option. Participation in this program does not require completion of a meal application.

For schools that opt to participate in the traditional National School Lunch and/or Breakfast Programs, and for child care centers that participate in the CACFP, participants may apply for free or reduced-price meals by completing the meal application and returning it to their school or agency. Application forms have been made available to all households, along with a letter to parents, guardians, or adult participants to explain the purpose of the application, as well as instructions on how to complete it. Additional copies are available from school principals and agency administrators/directors. The information provided on the application will be used to determine eligibility and may be verified at any time during the year by school or program officials. Applications may be submitted at any time during the year.

Children who receive benefits from Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) are automatically eligible to receive free meals, as are participants at adult care centers receiving SNAP, FDPIR, Supplemental Security Income, or Medicaid.

The same meals will be made available to all enrolled participants regardless of race, color, sex, age, national origin, or disability, and there is no discrimination during the meal service. Non-pricing programs provide meals at no charge. Pricing programs provide free and reduced-price meals to those meeting the approved eligibility criteria. Persons who believe they have been treated unfairly in receiving food services for any of these reasons should write immediately to the Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250.

The following household size and income criteria will be used for determining eligibility. Participants from families whose income is at or below the levels shown are eligible for free or reduced-price meals:


JULY 1, 2021 – JUNE 30, 2022



Free Meals Reduced-Price Meals
  Annual Monthly Weekly Annual Monthly Weekly
1 16,744 1,396 322 23,828 1,986 459
2 22,646 1,888 436 32,227 2,686 620
3 28,548 2,379 549 40,626 3,386 782
4 34,450 2,871 663 49,025 4,086 943
5 40,352 3,363 776 57,424 4,786 1,105
6 46,254 3,855 890 65,823 5,486 1,266
7 52,156 4,347 1,003 74,222 6,186 1,428
8 58,058 4,839 1,117 82,621 6,886 1,589
For each additional family member add: 5,902 492 114 8,399 700 162


NOTE TO MEDIA: A list of the participating schools and agencies, by county, is available on the Nutrition Services web site at Schools, Organizations, and Institutions Participating in Child Nutrition Programs.

Visit the SY2021-22 Income Guidelines here:

USDA is an equal opportunity provider.

David Jespersen
Public Information Officer, Nebraska Department of Education