Frequently Asked Questions

• Free & Reduced Meal Applications: Frequently Asked Questions (17 Questions)

1. Who can get free or reduced price meals?

  • All children in households receiving benefits from SNAP, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) or TANF, are eligible for free meals.
  • Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free meals.
  • Children participating in their school's Head Start program are eligible for free meals.
  • Children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant are eligible for free meals.
  • Children may receive free or reduced price meals if your household's income is within the limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines. 

2. How do I know if my children qualify as homeless, migrant, or runaway?

Do members of your household lack a permanent address? Are you staying together in a shelter, hotel, or other temporary housing arrangement? Does your family relocate on a seasonal basis? Are any children living with you who have chosen to leave their prior family or household? If you believe children in your household meet these descriptions and haven't been told your children will get free meals, please call the district's Homeless Liaison @ 793-1397, Ext. 220.

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

No. Use one Free and Reduced Price School Meals Application for all students in your household. We cannot approve an application that is not complete, so be sure to fill out all required information. Return the completed application to the CNP Manager at your child's school.

4. Should I fill out an application if I received a letter this school year saying my children are approved for free or reduced price meals?

No, but please read the letter carefully and follow the instructions. If any children in your household were missing from your eligibility notification, contact the CNP Secretary @ 334-793-1397, Ext. 258 immediately.

5. Can I apply Online?

Yes! You are encouraged to complete an online application instead of a paper application if you are able. The online application has the same requirements and will ask you for the same information as the paper application. Visit to begin or to learn more about the online application process. Contact the CNP Secretary @ 334-793-1397, Ext. 258 if you have any questions about the online application.

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

Yes. Your child's application is only good for that school year and for the first few days of this school year, through September 15, 2016. You must send in a new application unless the school told you that your child is eligible for this school year. If you do not send in a new application that is approved by the school or you have not been notified that your child is eligible for free meals, your child will be charged the full price for meals.

7. I get WIC. Can my child(ren) get free meals?

Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced price meals. Please send in an application.

8. Will the information I give be checked?

Yes, we may ask you to send written proof of the household income you report.

9. 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 be eligible for free or reduced price meals if the household income drops below the income limit.

10. 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 to: Director of Financial Services, 500 Dusy Street, Dothan, Alabama 36301; 793-1397.

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

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

12. What if my income is not always the same?

List the amount that you normally receive. For example, if you normally make $1000 each month, but you missed some work last month and only got $900, put down that you made $1000 per month. If you normally get overtime, include it, but do not include it if you only work overtime sometimes. If you have lost a job or had your hours or wages reduced, use your current income.

13. What if some household members have no income to report?

Household members may not receive some types of income we ask you to report on the application, or may not receive income at all. Whenever this happens, please write a "0" in the field. However, if any income fields are left empty or blank, those will also be counted as zeroes. Please be careful when leaving income fields blank, as we will assume you meant to do so.

14. 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, 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. Any additional combat pay resulting from deployment is also excluded from income.

15. What if there isn't enough space on the application for my family?

List any additional household members on a separate piece of paper, and attach it to your application. Contact the CNP Manager at your child's school or the CNP Office to receive a second application.

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

To find out how to apply for SNAP or other assistance benefits, contact your local assistance office or call 1-800-382-0499.

17. Additional questions?

If you have other questions or need help, contact the CNP Manager at your child's school or the Child Nutrition Program Office @ 793-1397.

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