Program Action Required
SY 2022-2023 New Meal Benefit Application Packet
SY 2022-2023 Income Eligibility Guidelines
The Massachusetts prototype School Year 2022-2023 (SY 22-23) Free and Reduced Price School Meals Household Application Packet, including all meal benefit issuance and verification forms, is currently available. This application was updated to reflect the SY 22-23. The SY 2022-2023 Income Eligibility Guidelines document is also available. Massachusetts' prototype documents are derived from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) prototype. Please reference SP 28-2017 entitled Revised Prototype Free and Reduced Price Application Materials: Policy Changes and Design Overview. Massachusetts prototype materials are found in the Document and Reference Library of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Security Portal. The attached forms are recommended for use as they include all mandatory USDA and DESE information. Any Local Educational Agency (LEA) that wishes to use a web based application must submit the Online Application Questionnaire (please contact your DESE consultant). The questionnaire is intended to ensure that the scanned or web-based household application process meets the requirements. Any web based application identified as not meeting the USDA requirements may result in fiscal action.
New: *This memo is being reissued due to the Massachusetts legislature funding Meals At No Cost For All Students For SY 22-23.* The letters to households and public release templates available in the document and reference library of the security portal reflect messaging that meals are offered at no cost to all students.
Important: The SY 22-23 Free and Reduced Price School Meals Household Application will be used as a method for households to apply for Summer 2022 Pandemic EBT (P-EBT). All applications approved through August 31, 2022 will qualify households for Summer 2022 P-EBT. At this time, the Federal Public Health Emergency declaration is still in effect therefore the SY 22-23 application may also be used as a method for households to apply for SY 22-23 P-EBT if Massachusetts is approved this upcoming school year. More information will be made available in a separate communication.
The meal benefit application packet available in the Document and Reference Library of the Security Portal includes the following:
The Massachusetts Application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals should be used whenever possible. Please be advised that use of outdated or unapproved documents may result in a fiscal disallowance.
The Limited English Proficiency Taglines Cover Page and USDA I Speak… documents should be included in the beginning of any communication sent to parents to assist in determining the language needs of a particular household. To accommodate a person with LEP use the translated USDA application package in their preferred language. Applications are available in forty nine (49) different languages. Additional instructions about diminishing participation barriers for Limited English Proficient (LEP) households are found in the Eligibility Manual for School Meals and available in the Document and Reference Library.
The Sharing Information with Other Programs is included in the packet and may be used for specific programs that are not covered by the federal/state education program as authorized by law. The name of the program(s) must be identified on the release form and parental/guardian signature must be obtained prior to the release of any information. Parental consent is not required when sharing student eligibility information with other Child Nutrition Programs such as the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Please refer to the Eligibility Manual for School Meals for complete information.
The 2022-2023 Income Eligibility Guidelines have been released and are located in DESE's Document and Reference Library of the security portal under NSLP — Household Application. Do not include the Income Eligibility Guidelines document as part of the application package. It is for school use only!
Please remember: All Public, Private, Charter Schools and RCCI's with DAY students Must Conduct Direct Certification at least three times during the school year via the MA Virtual Gateway. Community Eligibility Provision Schools and Provision 2 non base year schools Must Conduct Direct Certification at least once annually. More frequent direct certification efforts are permissible and encouraged for all school districts.
If you have any questions regarding the USDA School Nutrition Programs, please contact:
Kerry Callahan , 781-338-6462
Ebonique Faria , 781-338-6461
Danielle Reidy , 781-338-6475
Julianna Valcour , 781-338-6465
Bridget Ziniti , 781-338-6496
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
Required information that must be provided to households:
Required Verification documents and information for households selected for verification of eligibility information materials:
Optional application-related materials that should be provided to households:
The pages are designed to be printed on 8½" by 11" paper. Some pages may be printed front and back. You will need to identify the benefits that are offered in your school, such as afterschool snacks. The [bold, bracketed fields] indicate where you need to insert school district specific information. For example, you must include your district's no-charge telephone number for verification assistance on the verification materials. This prototype application package includes information regarding the exclusion of housing allowance for those in the Military Housing Privatization Initiative. If this is not pertinent to your school district, please modify as appropriate. A hearing procedure guidelines document is also included for the district to use to develop their district specific hearing procedures.
If you have questions, contact:
School Nutrition Programs Coordinator
Office for Food and Nutrition Programs
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148
All households must be notified of their eligibility status. Households with children who are denied benefits must be given written notification of the denial. The notification must advise the household of the reason for the denial of benefits, the right to appeal, instruction on how to appeal, and a statement that the family may re-apply for free and reduced price meal benefits at any time during the school year. Households with children who are approved for free or reduced price benefits with an application may be notified in writing or orally.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370
Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.