TEXAS FREE MEAL PROGRAM FAQ

1. Will my child still be eligible for the National School Lunch Program if the household moves to another state?

Yes. The National School Lunch Program is a federal-funded food assistance program and is available throughout the United States.

2. How many times can a child apply for free or reduced meals at school?

A child and his or her guardian may apply for free or reduced school lunch every year the household needs financial assistance. The child will remain eligible for the meal program unless the household income exceeds the maximum allowable limit.

3. Is my child eligible for the National School Lunch Program if he or she goes to a private school?

No. Only children who are attending a public, nonprofit or boarding schools are eligible for NSLP. Children living in government institutions may also qualify for free or reduced lunch.

4. Can a child benefit from the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program at the same time?

Yes, a child receiving free or reduced lunch through NSLP can also benefit from SBP. In fact, many children receive both breakfast and lunch at school for free or at a discounted price.

5. What kinds of foods are available through the National School Lunch Program?

In 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama began an initiative to make school lunches healthier. Since the passing of these laws, it is mandatory for all schools across the nation to provide lunches that have both fruits and vegetables, offer more whole grains and have few unhealthy fats.

6. Where do children with Summer Food Service Program benefits get their meals if school is not in session?

The Summer Food Service Program provides free or reduced meals at any approved SFSP cafeteria site. Contact your Texas Department of Agriculture office to find out the closest SFSP site to you.

7. Can a child still be eligible for the National School Lunch Program if they are already receiving food assistance?

Yes, most children receiving food assistance through other government programs are eligible for school lunch for free or at a discounted price. Children who are eligible for the National School Lunch Program may live in households that also meet the income requirements for SNAP, TANF or WIC food assistance.

8. My child never received a form to apply for the School Breakfast Program. How do I apply?

Not every school in Texas participates in the School Breakfast Program. Get in touch with your child’s school to determine if the school is participating in SBP. Alternatively, you may contact your local Texas Department of Agriculture office to request a School Breakfast Program form.

9. Is my child still eligible for the National School Lunch Program if he or she is homeschooled or taking online courses?

No, children not enrolled in a public, nonprofit or boarding school cannot qualify for the National School Lunch Program. A child must be attending school or living in a government institution to be eligible for NSLP.

10. If my child qualifies for reduced meals through NSLP, how reduced will the price be? 

It is at the school’s discretion to determine how much a reduced meal will cost. However, it is required that all children receiving reduced meals at school pay no more than 40 cents per meal.  

11. Why does my child’s school not participate in the School Breakfast Program?

Schools are not required to participate in the School Breakfast Program or any other food assistance programs unless a significant number of students qualify for the programs. If you believe that your child’s school may meet this qualification, contact your local Texas Department of Agriculture office.

12. I have joint custody of my child. Which household income does the application require?

If a child has more than one home, either or both household incomes can go on the application. If the child qualifies for the National Free School Lunch Program through one household but not the other, the child will still be eligible for free or reduced lunch.

13. How many meals each day is my child eligible for through the Summer Food Service Program? 

Children may receive up to two meals each day through the Summer Food Service Program. However, SLSP sites near migrant camps allow migrant children to receive three meals per day. 

14. I want to open up a cafeteria site for children enrolled in the Summer Food Service Program. How do I apply?

A school administrator must sponsor summer Food Service Program sites. Gaining recognition and trust within the community may help the case to earn a SFSP cafeteria site sponsorship.

15. Will my child be eligible to receive extra meals if they go to a daycare center after school

Both the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program do not cover meals after school or during daycare. Find out if your child is qualified to receive free snacks through the Afterschool Snacks Program. 

16. My child has a special diet. Will he or she still be able to eat meals provided through the National School Lunch Program?

Federal law protects children who have special diets due to a disability and permits disabled children to receive special meals if needed. Children who have special diets due to a lifestyle choice may not receive special meals through NSLP. However, the school may judge to provide meals for special diets unrelated to a disability.

17. Why was my child approved for school lunch at a reduced price instead of for free?

Children who live in households who earn between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty line qualify for reduced lunch. The program reserves free meals for children who live in households with an income that is less than or equal to 130 percent of the federal poverty line.

18. Can my child still apply for the School Breakfast Program if he or she is not a United States citizen?

Yes, a child who is a legal resident but non-citizen of the United States may still be eligible to receive free or reduced lunch through the School Breakfast Program.

19. Can my child still bring food from home to school if he or she is receiving free or reduced lunch?

Yes, children receiving food assistance through the National School Lunch Program may still bring food from home to school. In fact, healthy snacks are an excellent way to hold over a child’s hunger until lunchtime. 

20. Does my child have a choice in the meal they eat through the National School Lunch Program?

The law does not force children to choose or eat a food that they do not want to eat. Generally, children who are elementary age and older may refuse two to three food items each meal


What are benefits for Texas residents?

The State of Texas offers a wide array of benefits and services to the residents of Texas at home and abroad. These benefits include health care, housing assistance, unemployment assistance and a variety of programs for families to assist with food and health expense. Many individuals and families qualify for several of these programs. Complete the survey and download our guide to find helpful information on all of Texas Benefits along with details about eligibility and instructions for how to apply here.


Who is eligible for Texas benefits?

The State of Texas extends benefits to those who qualify. Families, individuals who have lost their job, persons with disabilities and elderly residents are usually those who will benefit the most from Texas's social welfare programs. For a comprehensive list of the requirements for each of Texas' programs please complete the survey and download our guide.



Take The First Step in Getting Assistance!