National School Lunch Program: see how to apply

Get help with understanding and applying for the federal school lunch program. Explore eligibility requirements, free or reduced meal costs, and more.


Annual application, online and with simple documentation

National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
See how to apply. Source: The Mad Capitalist

If your family is struggling to put food on the table, you can apply for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). After all, it can be a great way to ease your financial burden.




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In today’s post, we’ll learn about how this program works, who may qualify for it, and what documents and applications you need to complete in order to apply. Let’s dive in!


The income eligibility guidelines for NSLP are based on the federal poverty level. However, these level is adjusted annually.

Moreover, to be eligible for NSLP benefits, families must have incomes at or below 185% of the federal poverty level.

In addition to income-based eligibility, students receive certain government assistance programs.

Therefore, this means that families who participate in these programs do not need to provide additional documentation to prove their eligibility.

It’s important to note that these requirements for NSLP may vary by state. So, families should contact their child’s school or district to determine the specific guidelines.


When applying for NSLP benefits, families must provide documentation of their income, household size, and any government assistance programs they receive.

Also, documentation may include recent pay stubs, tax returns, or a letter from a government agency.

Families should contact their child’s school or district for more information on the specific requirements in the state.

Also, each state has a different billing period for verifying documentation. Therefore, it is important always to check the guidelines for your region for information.

How to apply for the National School Lunch Program?

Girlfriends at school lunch table, one smiling to camera
Annual application, online and with simple documentation. Source: AdobeStock

To apply for NSLP benefits, families should start by contacting their child’s school or school district.

Schools will provide information on the application process, including any required documentation and deadlines.

Nevertheless, families can apply for NSLP benefits at any time during the school year. But, it’s important to apply early to ensure the reception of benefits.

Moreover, it’s important to note that NSLP benefits are not automatic, and families must reapply each year. Families may provide additional documentation each year.

Find other programs to help you and your family: Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Families can also find additional support through programs such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

This program provides affordable health insurance coverage to children in low-income families.

In addition, CHIP offers comprehensive coverage for doctor visits, dental and vision care, prescriptions, and more.

Families can check their eligibility and apply for CHIP benefits online or by calling their state.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), be sure to check out our guide.

Kid being examined

How to apply for CHIP

A detailed description of how to apply for the Children's Health Insurance Program. Find out more here!

About the author  /  Sabrina Paes

Content Writer, Copywriter, and Ghostwriter. Content marketing professional with 5 years of experience. Specialist in investment, finance, and technology niche. MBA in Marketing, and Digital Business at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. Content Writer by Rock Content, and University of California (UCDAVIS).

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