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Child Nutrition Programs: Income Eligibility Guidelines (2024-2025)

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Federal Register Notices


This notice announces the department's annual adjustments to the Income Eligibility Guidelines to be used in determining eligibility for free and reduced price meals, free milk, and Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer benefits for the period from July 1, 2024 through June 30, 2025. These guidelines are used by schools, institutions, and facilities participating in the National School Lunch Program (and Commodity School Program), School Breakfast Program, Special Milk Program for Children, Child and Adult Care Food Program, and Summer Food Service Program. Beginning in 2024, they will also be used by states and indian tribal organizations that administer the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children Program. The annual adjustments are required by section 9 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act. The guidelines are intended to direct benefits to those children most in need and are revised annually to account for changes in the Consumer Price Index.


Applicable July 1, 2024.

Definition of Income

In accordance with the department's policy as provided in the Food and Nutrition Service publication Eligibility Manual for School Meals, “income,” as the term is used in this notice, means income before any deductions such as income taxes, Social Security taxes, insurance premiums, charitable contributions, and bonds. It includes the following: (1) monetary compensation for services, including wages, salary, commissions or fees; (2) net income from nonfarm self-employment; (3) net income from farm self-employment; (4) Social Security; (5) dividends or interest on savings or bonds or income from estates or trusts; (6) net rental income; (7) public assistance or welfare payments; (8) unemployment compensation; (9) government civilian employee or military retirement, or pensions or veterans payments; (10) private pensions or annuities; (11) alimony or child support payments; (12) regular contributions from persons not living in the household; (13) net royalties; and (14) other cash income. Other cash income would include cash amounts received or withdrawn from any source including savings, investments, trust accounts and other resources that would be available to pay the price of a child's meal.

“Income”, as the term is used in this notice, does not include any income or benefits received under any federal programs that are excluded from consideration as income by any statutory prohibition. Furthermore, the value of meals, milk, or EBT benefits to children shall not be considered as income to their households for other benefit programs in accordance with the prohibitions in section 12(e) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and section 11(b) of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 USC 1760(e) and 1780(b)).

The Income Eligibility Guidelines

The following are the Income Eligibility Guidelines to be effective from July 1, 2024 through June 30, 2025. The department's guidelines for free meals and milk and reduced price meals were obtained by multiplying the year 2024 federal income poverty guidelines by 1.30 and 1.85, respectively, and by rounding the result upward to the next whole dollar.

This notice displays only the annual federal poverty guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Human Services because the monthly and weekly federal poverty guidelines are not used to determine the Income Eligibility Guidelines. The chart details the free and reduced price eligibility criteria for monthly income, income received twice monthly (24 payments per year), income received every two weeks (26 payments per year) and weekly income.

Income calculations are made based on the following formulas: monthly income is calculated by dividing the annual income by 12; twice monthly income is computed by dividing annual income by 24; income received every two weeks is calculated by dividing annual income by 26; and weekly income is computed by dividing annual income by 52. All numbers are rounded upward to the next whole dollar. The numbers reflected in this notice for a family of four in the 48 contiguous states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the territories represent an increase of 4.0 percent over last year's level for a family of the same size.

Authority: Section 9(b)(1) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 USC 1758(b)(1)(A)).

Income Eligibility Guidelines

Page updated: February 28, 2024