Indiana Department of Education Shares Federal Meal Program Updates for Schools and Local Organizations

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) announces several updates issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding the National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option (SSO) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

National School Lunch Program SSO
Schools are encouraged to participate in the National School Lunch Program SSO. While typically only available during summer months, the USDA has issued an extension for the SSO meal program waiver, allowing participating schools to serve free meals on school days for the duration of the 2021-2022 school year. Schools participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) will receive higher-than-normal meal reimbursements for the meals they serve if they participate in the SSO option. Participating schools choosing the SSO will be able to serve free meals through June 30, 2022. 

Schools operating under COVID-19 safety protocols will still be able to serve meals using the SSO waiver, as it includes a broad range of flexibilities when serving meals that enable social distancing and additional COVID-19 precautions. Schools must apply to and receive approval from IDOE to operate under SSO or any other flexibility waivers.

Learn more about the SSO here.

Eligibility Requirements for Free and Reduced Price Meals
For local organizations serving meals where the SSO is not applicable, the USDA has released updates to the income and eligibility guidelines for participants receiving free and reduced price meals. The updated income eligibility guidelines are effective from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022. 

Individuals qualifying for free and reduced price meals at CACFP-participating organizations, such as day care facilities, family day care homes and adult day care centers, are required to submit one application per household. Applications may be submitted any time, and all information is kept confidential. 

Individuals participating in the following programs or who are members of the following groups are automatically eligible for free and reduced price meal benefits:

  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)  
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or Food Stamps in Indiana)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (adult day care) 
  • Medicaid Participants (adult day care) 
  • Foster Children
  • Children enrolled in Head Start, At-Risk Afterschool Center, or an Emergency Shelter

View the updated income eligibility guidelines for the Child and Adult Care Food Program here

View all institutions currently participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program here.

To learn more about USDA Nutrition Assistance Programs, click here

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