ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR THE THREE PROGRAMS IN TEXAS

The National School Lunch Program requirements in Texas are also used for the School Breakfast Program and the Summer Food Service Program. This means that children who meet eligibility for the National School Lunch Program also meet the qualifications for the other two food assistance programs.

Parents and guardians wondering, “What do I need to apply for NSLP in Texas?” need not worry. General information about the child’s identity and the combined household income is all that is needed for an application for any of the three school meal programs. In terms of what are the requirements for the School Breakfast Program and other school meal assistance, income eligibility is the main requirement.

Other than meeting income SBP guidelines, an individual may meet the National School Lunch Program requirements in Texas if he or she is also:

  • A child under 19 years of age that is attending a public, nonprofit, or boarding school
  • A child under 19 years of age that is living in foster care or another government institution
  • A child under 19 years of age who is a migrant or homeless
  • An adult living in a group home with fewer than six other people

Applicants qualifying for the School Lunch Breakfast Program will meet the aforementioned SBP guidelines as well as demonstrate a financial need. Financial need may be determined using at least four methods.

This section on eligibility requirements for the three school meal programs in Texas will cover:

  • Household income eligibility for the National School Lunch Program in Texas
  • Categorical eligibility for the National School Lunch Program in Texas
  • Community eligibility for National School Lunch Program in Texas

Household Income Eligibility for the National School Lunch Program in Texas

For petitioners to meet the National School Lunch Program requirements in Texas, children need to establish a financial need. In most cases, the state of Texas will determine eligibility for the National School Lunch Program and other school meal programs based upon household income. Most petitioners qualifying for the School Breakfast Program will meet the income bracket for their household size. This method is most commonly used to determine eligibility, though children qualifying for the School Breakfast Program in TX do not necessarily need to meet strict income guidelines.

In accordance with SFSP, NSLP, and SBP guidelines in Texas, the maximum allowable income adjusted to household size for free or reduced meal eligibility are as follows:

  • For households of 1, $21,978 for reduced meals, $15,444 for free meals
  • For households of 2, $29,637 for reduced meals, $20,826 for free meals
  • For households of 3, $37,296 for reduced meals, $26,208 for free meals
  • For households of 4, $44,955 for reduced meals, $31,590 for free meals
  • For households of 5, $52,614 for reduced meals, $36,972 for free meals
  • For households of 6, $60,273 for reduced meals, $42,354 for free meals
  • For households of 7, $67,951 for reduced meals, $47,749 for free meals
  • For households of 8, $75,647 for reduced meals, $53,157 for free meals
  • For each additional family member, add $7,696 for reduced meals, add $5,408 for free meals

Categorical Eligibility for the National School Lunch Program in Texas

Income eligibility for the National School Lunch Program and other school meal programs may also be determined through categorical eligibility. A petitioner qualifying for the School Breakfast Program in Texas through categorical eligibility will already be receiving government assistance based on low income.

Children who meet categorical eligibility for the National School Lunch Program in TX will already be enrolled in or receiving benefits from at least one of the following programs:

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Foster care
  • Head Start
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Children who meet categorical eligibility for the National School Lunch Program may not need to complete a NSLP application. Usually, schools are required to automatically report if any child is receiving financial assistance at home. This method of applying for NSLP is called direct certification.  Parents and guardians worrying about “What do I need to apply to SBP in Texas?” may be pleased to know that their child may not even need to complete an application if the household is already receiving government assistance.

Community Eligibility for the National School Lunch Program in Texas

Community eligibility is a new method of qualifying for the School Breakfast Program in Texas. Community eligibility allows an entire school district to provide free meals to students if over 40 percent of students attending school in the district are applying for NSLP through direct certification. Direct certification is a method of applying for free or reduced lunch used when a child’s household is receiving financial assistance from the federal government.  Generally speaking, if over 40 percent of students in a school district meet the National School Lunch Program requirements through direct certification, this means that a significant number of students are living not far above the federal poverty line.

This eligibility option using community eligibility as a method of qualifying for the School Breakfast Program occurred first in a select few states in 2011. After observing the success of community eligibility, the National School Lunch Program requirements extended to include children who live in low-income neighborhoods, even if income eligibility is not met.


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.