Help

Frequently Asked Questions

My child’s application was approved last year. Do I need to fill out a new one?

Yes. Eligibility for free or reduced price meals only lasts for one school year. However, eligibility for the previous year carries over for the first few days of the new school year, or until the new eligibility determination is made. Please complete a new application unless you received a letter from the school saying that your child is eligible for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year.

Do I need to fill out an application for each child?

No. Use one Free and Reduced Price School Meal Application for all students that attend school in School District of Pickens County in your household.

I received a letter from the school saying that my children were automatically approved for free meals for the 2022–2023 school year. Do I still need to complete an application?

No, but please read the letter carefully. If any children in your household were missing from your eligibility notification letter, they are also eligible for free meals, so you should contact School District of Pickens County immediately.

If I don’t qualify now, may I apply later?

Yes, you may apply at any time during the school year. For example, children with a parent or guardian who becomes unemployed may become eligible for free or reduced price meals if the household income drops below the income limit.

My household participates in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and/or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Are my children eligible for free meals?

All children in households are eligible for free meals when at least one household member is receiving benefits from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. If you participate in other assistance programs, contact School District of Pickens County to see if you qualify for school meal benefits. You may qualify for free meals!

What if my household does not qualify for free or reduced price meal benefits based on income, but I have a foster child?

Foster children who are formally placed by the State welfare agency or court in a caretaker household are eligible for benefits regardless of household income.

I get WIC. Can my children get free meals?

Participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC program, does not automatically qualify your children for free or reduced price school meals. You will need to qualify based on your household income by completing this application.

My child attends Head Start. Is he/she eligible for free school meals and do I need to fill out an application?

Yes. Children enrolled in Head Start are automatically eligible for free meals. You do not need to submit an application for school meal benefits unless you are requesting benefits for other school age children in your household.

My family needs more help. Are there other programs we might apply for?

To find out how to apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or other assistance benefits, contact School District of Pickens County.

May I apply if someone in my household is not a U.S. citizen?

Yes. You, your children, or other household members do not have to be U.S. citizens to apply for free or reduced price meals.

Will my child or I be subject to public charge if I apply for or receive school meal benefits?

No, the non-cash benefits received through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Programs are not subject to public charge consideration. In other words, you will not be deported, denied entry to the country, or denied permanent status because you apply for or receive school meal benefits.

Will the information I give be checked?

Yes, each application is reviewed by the district to determine eligibility. We may also ask you to send proof of your household’s income.

What information will I need to fill out the application?

If you have this information handy, it will make the application process fast and easy.

  • If you participate in SNAP, TANF, FDPIR you will need to know your case number (not your card or account number).
  • If you do not participate in any of the above assistance program, you will need to report your total household income. In that case…
    • If anyone in your household has a job, you may need to reference the earnings statements or pay stubs to report your gross income, which is different than the amount in your paycheck.
    • If anyone receives Social Security or retirement benefits, you may need to gather the benefit statements to report the amount and frequency of the payments.
    • You may also need to reference other financial documents for additional sources of income.

Still not sure if you have everything you need? Don’t worry. Each page of the application contains detailed instructions and explanations about the information you must include, and you can gather additional information then.

Who should I include in my household?

A household is defined as a group of people, related or unrelated, that usually live together and share income and expenses.

Don't forget to include people if you support them financially, regardless of whether they earn or receive income, including:

  • foster children
  • children that are away at college or boarding school
  • grandparents
  • extended family members that are living with you
  • foreign exchange students that are living with you
  • people that are not currently living with you, but are only away on a temporary basis (like kids that are away at college)
  • family members of the armed services who are away from home because they are activated or deployed
  • people living away from home for an extended period of time (such as parents who live and work away from home)
  • other people who stay at your house and you provide with shelter, utilities, clothing, or food

You should NOT include:

  • renters
  • boarders
  • children who do not live with you (such as children that live permanently with other relatives or friends)
  • children for whom you do not have custody and therefore do not live with you (if you have joint custody, see the help question: WHAT IF I SHARE CUSTODY OF MY CHILD?

What if I share custody of my child?

If time is split between houses, both parents may apply for benefits. If the eligibility statuses are different, the highest level of benefits will apply. For example, if you qualify for free meals but your child’s other parent does not, no matter which house your child is staying at, he or she can still receive free meals. However, if either parent chooses not to have your child receive free meal benefits while residing with them then that parent may simply pay for the meals.

What if I disagree with the school’s decision about my application?

You should talk to school officials. You also may ask for a hearing by calling or writing. Please review the information provided in the Letter to Household on the next page of the application for more details.

What are the Income Eligibility Guidelines?

INCOME ELIGIBILITY GUIDELINES
Use the income chart below to see if you qualify for the reduced-price meal program.

Effective July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2023

Household size Annual Monthly Twice per Month Every Two Weeks      Weekly
1 $25,142 $2,096 $1,048 $1,048 $484
2 $33,874 $2,823 $1,412 $1,303 $652
3 $42,606 $3,551 $1,776 $1,639 $820
4 $51,338 $4,279 $2,140 $1,975 $988
5 $60,070 $5,006 $2,503 $2,311 $1,156
6 $68,266 $5,734 $2,867 $2,647 $1,324
7 $77,534 $6,462 $3,231 $2,983 $1,492
8 $86,266 $7,189 $3,595 $3,318 $1,659
For EACH additional household member, add: +$8,732 $728 $364 $336 $168

I received a letter from the school saying that my children were automatically approved for free meals for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. Do I still need to complete an application?

No, but please read the letter carefully. If any children in your household were missing from your eligibility notification letter, they are also eligible for free meals, so you should contact School District of Pickens County immediately.

What is child income?

Child income is money received from outside your household that is paid directly to your children. Many households do not have any child income.

Is my child's racial and ethnic identities required?

No, this information is OPTIONAL. We ask you to share the information about your children's race and ethnicity, but it is not required and does not affect your children's eligibility for free or reduced price school meals.

If I don't qualify now, may I apply later?

Yes, you may apply at any time during the school year. For example, children with a parent or guardian who becomes unemployed may become eligible for free or reduced price meals if the household income drops below the income limit.

Will my responses on this page affect my child's eligibility determination?

No, the Free and Reduced Price Meals Family Application will be reviewed regardless of your response on this page. Completion of this form is not a condition of determining meal eligibility.

What do I do now that I have completed my application?

If your application was completed successfully you will see a confirmation number on this screen.  You may also elect to e-mail this number by clicking on the link.  Benefits will not occur automatically and will still need time to be processed by the Child Nutrition Department at your school district.  If you have questions or have not received a response after 10 days please contact the Child Nutrition office at your school district.

For comments or suggestions about this website you can e-mail us at info@schoollunchapp.com.

How do I report annual household income for pay received on a monthly, twice a month, every two weeks, or weekly basis?

Determine each source of household income based on above definitions. Households that receive income at different time intervals must annualize their income as follows:

  • If paid monthly, multiply total pay by 12
  • If paid twice per month, multiply total pay by 24
  • If paid bi-weekly (every two weeks), multiply total pay by 26
  • If paid weekly, multiply total pay by 52

Add annualized pay together to determine the total annual household income and enter amount on the other side of this form.

If your income changes, include the wages/salary that you regularly receive. For example, if you normally make $1,000 each month, but you missed some work last month and made $900, put down that you made $1,000 per month. Only include overtime pay if you receive it on a regular basis. If you have lost your job or had your hours or wages reduced, enter zero or your current reduced income.

What is gross income?

Gross income is all money earned before deductions, such as income taxes, employee’s social security taxes, and insurance premiums. Gross income also includes money that is garnished from wages, or in the case of bankruptcy, income that is ordered to be paid to creditors.

What income sources do I have to report in my application?

The income section of this application will ask about the money received on a regular basis from the following sources:

  • Military basic pay and drill pay
  • Military cash bonuses
  • Military allowance for off-base housing, food, clothing (BAH)
  • Military benefits
  • Salary
  • Wages
  • Tips
  • Commissions
  • Cash bonuses
  • Income for the Self-Employed
  • Income from Wages and Self-Employment
  • Strike benefits
  • Projected Income for Seasonal Workers
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Veteran’s benefits
  • Cash assistance from State or local government
  • Housing subsidies (not including those from federal housing programs)
  • Alimony received
  • Child support received
  • Adoption assistance
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
  • Social Security
  • Black Lung benefits
  • Railroad retirement
  • Pensions
  • College financial aid for room and board (living expenses), not including Pell Grants, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, State Student Incentive Grants, National Direct Student Loans, PLUS, College Work Study, or Byrd Honor Scholarship Programs
  • Regular cash payments from outside the household (for example, money regularly received from extended family or friends that do not live in the household)
  • Regular payments or withdrawals from sources such as an award, settlement, inheritance or prize winnings
  • Net income from rental properties
  • Earned interest
  • Annuities
  • Other investment income
  • Any other money that may be available to pay for children’s meals

Cash value of benefits from SNAP or FDPIR

  • Irregular overtime pay
  • Military Family Substance Supplemental Allowance (FSSA)
  • Military Housing Privatization Initiative
  • Combat Pay when it is:
    • Received in addition to the service member’s basic pay;
    • Received as a result of deployment to or service in an area that has been designated as a combat zone; and
    • Not received by the service member prior to deployment to or service in the designated combat zone
  • Cash value of benefits from SNAP or FDPIR
  • Payments received from a foster care agency or court for the care of foster children
  • Student financial assistance provided for the costs of attendance at an educational institution, such as grants and scholarships awarded to meet educational expenses and not available to pay for meals
  • Loans, such as bank loans, since these funds are only temporarily available and must be repaid
  • Earnings received on an irregular basis, such as payment for occasional baby-sitting or mowing lawns
  • Housing subsidies from federal housing programs

I need to make a change on this application. How can I do that?

Please review each section of your application for correct information. You can make any modifications necessary by using the "Change[Section Name]" link next to each section.  Please ensure you have not listed a student or household member twice as this will affect your eligibility and increase processing time.

If there are any members of your household that you have not listed on the application, go back and add them. It is very important to enter all household members, as the size of your household affects your eligibility for free and reduced priced meals.

What is net income?

Commonly referred to as “take home pay,” net income is the amount of money you receive in your pay check. It is your total (or gross) income, minus taxes and deductions.

What if some household members have no income to report?

You should still list these household members on your application. Household members may not earn or receive some of the types of income we ask you to report, or they may not receive income at all. Remember your eligibility determination is based on both household income and household size. For more information on who to include in your application, see the question “WHO SHOULD I INCLUDE IN MY HOUSEHOLD?”

Do I have to provide my contact information?

No, but it is very helpful to have your contact information in case we need to get in touch with you about your application. Also, if your contact information changes in the future, please let us know so that we can maintain up-to-date information for your household throughout the year.

What am I agreeing to by signing this application?

By selecting/entering your First and Last Name, you are agreeing to provide your information to the school district to review your application and make an eligibility determination.

All applications must be signed by an adult member of the household. By signing the application, that household member is promising that all information has been truthfully and completely reported. Before completing this section, please also make sure you have read the privacy and civil rights statements at the bottom of the Parent Letter to Household.

What sources of income do I have to report in my application?

The income section of this application will ask about the money received on a regular basis from the following sources:

  • Military basic pay and drill pay
  • Military cash bonuses
  • Military allowance for off-base housing, food, clothing (BAH)
  • Military benefits
  • Salary
  • Wages
  • Tips
  • Commissions
  • Cash bonuses
  • Income for the Self-Employed
  • Income from Wages and Self-Employment
  • Strike benefits
  • Projected Income for Seasonal Workers
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Veteran’s benefits
  • Cash assistance from State or local government
  • Housing subsidies (not including those from federal housing programs)
  • Alimony received
  • Child support received
  • Adoption assistance
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
  • Social Security
  • Black Lung benefits
  • Railroad retirement
  • Pensions
  • College financial aid for room and board (living expenses), not including Pell Grants, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, State Student Incentive Grants, National Direct Student Loans, PLUS, College Work Study, or Byrd Honor Scholarship Programs
  • Regular cash payments from outside the household (for example, money regularly received from extended family or friends that do not live in the household)
  • Regular payments or withdrawals from sources such as an award, settlement, inheritance or prize winnings
  • Net income from rental properties
  • Earned interest
  • Annuities
  • Other investment income
  • Any other money that may be available to pay for children’s meals

We do not take into account income from:

  • Irregular overtime pay
  • Military Family Substance Supplemental Allowance (FSSA)
  • Military Housing Privatization Initiative
  • Combat Pay when it is:
    • Received in addition to the service member’s basic pay;
    • Received as a result of deployment to or service in an area that has been designated as a combat zone; and
    • Not received by the service member prior to deployment to or service in the designated combat zone
  • Cash value of benefits from SNAP or FDPIR
  • Payments received from a foster care agency or court for the care of foster children
  • Student financial assistance provided for the costs of attendance at an educational institution, such as grants and scholarships awarded to meet educational expenses and not available to pay for meals
  • Loans, such as bank loans, since these funds are only temporarily available and must be repaid
  • Earnings received on an irregular basis, such as payment for occasional baby-sitting or mowing lawns
  • Housing subsidies from federal housing programs

Should I include a member of our household on the application if they are currently deployed?

Yes. Members of the armed services who are activated or deployed are counted as household members. Any money made available by them or on their behalf for the household is included as income to the household with the exception of combat pay.

What if I do not have a Social Security number?

Don’t worry, you don’t need to have a Social Security number to receive free or reduced price benefits. Simply check the box that you do not have a Social Security number. 

Note: A Social Security Number is not required for applications with a SNAP number, TANF number, RCCI student or single Foster students.

I am the permanent guardian of a child. Do they automatically qualify for free meals as a foster child?

No. The foster status only applies to children who are formally placed by the State welfare agency or court in a caretaker household. It does not apply to informal arrangements, such as caretaker arrangements or to permanent guardianship placements, which may exist outside of State or court based systems. The child may still be eligible based on your household income, so we encourage you to complete an application.

What is considered as current income?

Current income is income earned or received in the current month, or in the month before the completion of this application.

What if my income is not always the same?

If your income is different this month than a normal month because of overtime, holiday pay, missing a couple of shifts at work, or some other reason, put down what you would have made if those things hadn’t happened. For example, if you normally make $1000 each month, but you missed some work last month and only made $900, put down that you make $1000 per month. Similarly, if you normally make $500 per month, but you worked overtime and made $750, put down that you make $500 per month.

  • If you work on a seasonal basis, like in agriculture or tourism, and earn more money in some months than in other months, you may add up all your earnings for the year and divide it by twelve in order to report a monthly amount. If you expect to earn the same amount as last year, you can use your earnings from last year as the basis of your projected monthly income.
  • If you receive a one-time payment, it should not be reported as current, monthly income since it is not received on a regular basis. However, if you receive a one-time payment, such as from an award, settlement, inheritance or prize winnings, and then regularly draw on that money for living expenses later on, the amount withdrawn should be reported in your application for school meal benefits.
  • If you need additional help or information about how to report your income, contact School District of Pickens County at , and they will help you figure out your household’s annual rate of income based on USDA guidelines.

How do I know if my children qualify as homeless?

Your children may qualify as homeless if they…

  • are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason, or are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
  • are living in emergency or transitional shelters, are abandoned in hospitals, or are awaiting foster care placement;
  • have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings; or
  • are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings.

If you believe children in your household meet one or more of these descriptions and you haven’t been told your children will get free meals, please contact School District of Pickens County

What is considered as regular cash payments from outside the household?

Regular cash payments from outside the household is money regularly received from extended family or friends that do not live with you. For example, if parents or grandparents regularly help cover the cost of groceries, bills, or rent, that money is considered household income and should be reported in your application for school meal benefits.

One-time payments should not be reported as current, monthly income since they are not received on a regular basis. However, if you receive a one-time payment, such as from an award, settlement, inheritance or prize winnings, and then regularly draw on that money for living expenses later on, the amount withdrawn should be reported in your application for school meal benefits in the space for ‘Any other income available to pay for children’s school meals’.

We are in the military. Do we report our income differently?

Your basic pay and cash bonuses must be reported as income. If you get any cash value allowances for off-base housing, food, or clothing, (including BAH), it must also be included as income. However, if your housing is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, do not include your housing allowance as income. Do not include payments from the Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance (FSSA). Any additional combat pay resulting from deployment is also excluded from income. If the service member is deployed, include only the portion that is made available by them or on their behalf to the household as income.

How do I know if my children qualify as migrant?

Your children may qualify as a migrant if you have moved your household into a different school district within the last three years to gain or look for temporary/seasonal work in agriculture or fishing.

If you believe children in your household meet one or more of these descriptions and you haven’t been told your children will get free meals, please contact School District of Pickens County.

I adopted a foster child. Are they still eligible for free meals?

Congratulations on the adoption! And the answer is maybe. If your child was approved for free meals before the adoption went through, then your child is eligible to receive free meals for the rest of the school year. But next year the child will no longer eligible for free meals based on foster status, though they may still qualify based on household income, so we encourage you to submit an application.

Do I need to report my combat pay as income on my application?

No, as long as the following conditions are met:

  • It was received in addition to basic pay;
  • It was received for the deployment to or service in an area designated as a combat zone; and
  • It was not received prior to deployment to or service in the designated combat zone.

If any of these conditions are not met, you should report the amount as military basic pay.

How do I know if a child qualifies as a runaway?

Any children living with you who have chosen to leave their prior family or household may qualify for free meals. Please contact School District of Pickens County.

I’m not sure on which income frequency to select. What are the differences between the income frequencies?

Weekly – You usually receive 1 paycheck each week.  With this frequency you usually receive 52 paychecks per year.

Every two weeks – You usually receive a paycheck every other week.  Generally, you receive it on the same day each pay period, such as every other Friday.  You usually receive 2 paychecks per month, though some months may differ.  It usually equates to 26 paychecks per year.

Twice per month – You usually receive 2 paychecks per month on certain scheduled days of the month, such as the 15th and 30th.  Depending on that day in the month it could fall on any day of the week.  With this frequency, you usually receive 24 paychecks 24 a year.

Monthly – You usually receive 1 paycheck during the month.  With this frequency you typically receive 12 paychecks per year.

If you receive an hourly income, you can convert it to a weekly frequency: Multiply your hourly rate by the number of hours you typically work in a week to get your Weekly income.

(Example:  $10 per hour X 40 hours per week = $400 per week)

Annual income conversion

Multiply:

  • Weekly income amount by 52
  • Every two weeks amount by 26
  • Twice per month amount by 24
  • Monthly income amount by 12

I get deployment extension incentive pay (DEIP). Should I report that as income in my application?

Maybe. If you are not deployed, then it is included in your household income, but if you are away from your home station, then you are exempt from including it as household income.

What is the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act?

McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Chilren and Youth Assistance Act provides Federal money for homeless shelter programs and facilitates public school access for homeless children and youth.

What is the difference between earnings from a salary and earnings from wages?

A salary is an agreed-upon, fixed amount of money paid to an employee every year. Employers pay salaries in different frequencies depending on the work, but often the frequency is monthly, twice a month, or every two weeks. Wages are also an agreed-upon payment for work. Employers usually pay wages at an hourly, daily or weekly frequency.

What is the Migrant Education Program (MEP)?

MEP provides services to children who have moved across school district lines, within the last three years, in order to accompany or join a parent or guardian who seeks or obtains temporary or seasonal work in agriculture or fishing.

What if I am self-employed?

If you are self-employed, report income from work as a net amount. This is calculated by subtracting the total operating expenses of your business from its gross receipts or revenue.

Income from self-employment should be reported as your current net income, equal to gross revenue (income) minus business expenses. Gross revenue (income) includes the total income from goods sold or services rendered by the business, or the value of all products sold.

  • Deductible business expenses include the cost of goods purchased; rent; utilities; depreciation charges; wages and salaries paid; and business taxes;
  • Non-deductible business expenses include the value of salable merchandise used by the proprietors of retail businesses; and personal, Federal, State, or local income taxes;
  • Net income for self-employed farmers is figured by subtracting the farmer’s operating expenses from the gross revenue (income). Gross income includes money received from the rental of farm land, buildings, or equipment to others; and incidental receipts from the sale of items such as wood, sand, or gravel. Operating expenses include cost of feed, fertilizer, seed, and other farming supplies; cash wages paid to farmhands; depreciation charges; cash rent; interest on farm mortgages; farm building repairs; and farm taxes;

If your current net income is not your usual income, you may use last year’s income as a basis to report net income, or refer to the question ‘WHAT IF MY INCOME IS NOT ALWAYS THE SAME?’ in the HELP.

What is the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act?

Runaway and Homeless Youth Act authorizes community-based runaway and homeless youth projects to provide temporary shelter and care to runaway or otherwise homeless youth who are in need of temporary shelter, counseling, and aftercare services.

What if I have income from both wages and self-employment?

For a household with income from wages and self-employment, each amount must be listed separately. When there is a business loss, income from wages must not be reduced by the amount of the business loss. If income from self-employment is negative, you should report it as $0 (zero) on your application.

How do I fill out an application for an Emancipated Child?

A child living alone or as a separate economic unit is considered to be a household of one. If an emancipated child lives alone as a household of one, or as a member of a household with no adult household members, please check the box you are completing the application as a household of one and click Next.  No portion of the Social Security Number will be requireded on the application of an emancipated child.

What government program benefits should I include in my household income?

If you have questions about whether to include benefits from a specific program, contact School District of Pickens County.

How should I report income from rented space or properties?

If you receive income from a room or property that you rent out, you should report the net amount of income. In other words, take the total amount you receive in rent for one month (the gross income), and subtract the monthly cost of maintaining the property. If you have questions or need help figuring out how to estimate maintenance costs, contact School District of Pickens County.

How do I know if I have income from earned interest?

If you have money in a savings or investment account, you should have income from earned interest. Interest payments are usually paid out on a quarterly basis, or four times per year. You should see any earned interest on your savings or investment account statement.

How should I report my income if I work on a seasonal basis?

If you work on a seasonal basis and your household’s current, gross income is higher or lower than usual and does not fairly or accurately represent your household’s actual circumstances, see the ‘WHAT IF MY INCOME IS NOT ALWAYS THE SAME?’ question in the HELP. If you have additional questions, contact School District of Pickens County, and they will help you figure out your household’s annual rate of income based on USDA guidelines.

2022-2023

School District of Pickens County

Online Free and Reduced Application

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    Start
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    Programs
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    Children
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    Household
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    Contact Info
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    Summary
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    Finish
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Help?

Welcome to the Free and Reduced Priced Meal Application!

Before you begin...
there are a few things you should know.

If you received a letter from the school saying that your children were automatically approved (directly certified) for free meals for the 2022-2023 school year because someone in your household participates in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), then you do not need to submit an application.

We need only one application for all children in your household that attend school in School District of Pickens County.

Eligibility for free or reduced priced school meals benefits is based on any one of these three things:

- your total household income and size in the month the application is filled out, or the month before, or
- your child's individual status as foster, homeless, migrant, or runaway, or
- participation in an assistance program by any member of your household

Your US citizenship or immigration status does not affect your eligibility for free or reduced price benefits.

If you have any questions at any point during the application, click Help to get help with the current section.

Things you'll need
Lastly, we compiled a list of the information you might need to complete the application. Check it out!↓