In centers, participants from households with incomes
at or below 130 percent of poverty are eligible for free
meals. Participants in centers with household incomes
between 130 percent and 185 percent of poverty are eligible
for meals at a reduced price. Institutions must determine
each enrolled participant’s eligibility for free
and reduced price meals served in centers.
Sponsoring organizations of day care homes must determine
which day care homes are eligible for tier I rates and,
if requested, which children are eligible to receive
meals reimbursed at tier I rates in tier II day care
A participant’s eligibility for free and reduced
price meals in centers or for tier I meals in day care
homes, may be established by submission of an income
eligibility statement, which provides information about
family size and income. The information submitted
by each household is compared with USDA’s Income
Children whose families receive benefits from the Food
Stamp Program, Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
(FDPIR), or State programs funded through Temporary Assistance
for Needy Families (TANF) are categorically eligible
for free meals. Children who are income-eligible
participants of Head Start or Even Start programs are
automatically eligible for free meals, without further
application or eligibility determination.
Children who are residents of emergency shelters are
also automatically eligible for free meals.
Adults who receive food stamps, FDPIR, Social Security
Income (SSI), or Medicaid benefits are categorically
eligible for free meals.
Tier I day care homes are those that are located in low-income
areas, or those in which the provider’s household
income is at or below 185 percent of the Federal income
poverty guidelines. Sponsoring organizations may
use elementary school free and reduced price enrollment
data or census block group data to determine which areas
Tier II homes are those family day care homes which do
not meet the location or provider income criteria for
a tier I home. The provider in a tier II home may
elect to have the sponsoring organization identify income-eligible
children, so that meals served to those children who
qualify for free and reduced price meals would be reimbursed
at the higher tier I rates.
A child’s eligibility for tier I rates in a tier
II day care home may be documented through submission
of an income eligibility statement which details family
size and income or participation in any of a number of
means-tested State or Federal programs with eligibility
at or below 185 percent of poverty.