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2017–18 Annual Income Eligibility Guidelines


Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

Purpose:  Policy, Action Required, Beneficial Information

To: Child Nutrition Program Operators

Attention: Child Nutrition Program Operators

Number: CNP-05-2017

Date: May 2017

Reference: Federal Register, Volume 82, Number 67 (Monday, April 10, 2017) U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Notice, pages 17182–17184.

Supersedes: Management Bulletin CNP-02-2016 (June 2016)

Subject: 2017–18 Annual Income Eligibility Guidelines


This Management Bulletin (MB) provides child nutrition program (CNP) operators with School Year (SY) 2017–18 Income Eligibility Guidelines (IEG) and information regarding the requirements for calculating household income. These guidelines are used by schools, agencies, institutions, and facilities participating in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Special Milk Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The new IEG scale is effective from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018, and is located on the California Department of Education (CDE) Rates, Eligibility Scales, and Funding Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/rs/.

CNP operators use the IEGs to determine eligibility for free and reduced-price (F/RP) meals and free milk, in accordance with applicable CNP rules. The IEGs are based on the federal poverty guidelines and are determined by household size. Children from families with income at or below 130 percent of the poverty level are eligible for free meals. Those with income between 131 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for reduced‐price meals.

Calculation Methods

When a household submits an F/RP meal or free milk application that provides income sources with more than one frequency (for example, a household member receives income once a month and another household member receives income twice a month), the CNP operator must annualize all income by multiplying:

  • Weekly by 52
  • Biweekly (received every two weeks) by 26
  • Twice a month by 24
  • Monthly by 12

If there is only one source of income, or if all sources are received at the same frequency, the CNP operator must total all sources and compare the total to the applicable pay period. For example, if two household members receive income once a month, these amounts would be added together and then compared to the monthly IEG based on the total household size.

Note:  CNP operators may not round the values resulting from each conversion; instead, they must add all of the unrounded converted values and use the unrounded total to identify the appropriate IEG for annual income for the household size.

This calculation method is consistent with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Eligibility Manual for School Meals, which can be downloaded from the USDA School Meals Guidance and Resources Web page at http://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/guidance-and-resources.

School Nutrition Programs

The SY 2017–18 IEGs are available to download as a Word document from the CDE School Nutrition Programs (SNP) Eligibility Materials Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/sn/eligmaterials.asp. The reduced-price scale is available in English and Spanish.

Child and Adult Care Food Program

The updated CACFP eligibility materials are available on the following CDE Web pages:

Adult Component Eligibility Materials http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/cc/eligmaterials.asp [Note: the preceding link is no longer valid]

Child Care Center Eligibility Materials http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/cc/celigmaterials.asp [Note: the preceding link is no longer valid]

Day Care Home Eligibility Materials http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/cc/daycareeligmat.asp [Note: the preceding link is no longer valid]

Summer Food Service Program

The updated SFSP 2017–18 IEGs are available on the CDE CNP Income Eligibility Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/rs/scales1718.asp.   

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this MB, please contact your SNP, CACFP, or SFSP specialist.

SNP: The SNP specialist list is available in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) Download Forms section, Form ID Caseload. You can also contact an SNP office technician (OT) by phone at 916-322-3005 or 916-322-1450.

CACFP: The CACFP specialist list is available in the CNIPS Download Forms section, Form ID CACFP 00. You can also contact the Community Nutrition Program Administration OT by phone at 916-324-6153.

SFSP: The Summer Meals specialist list is available in the CNIPS Download Forms section, Form ID SMU 01. You can also contact the Summer Meals Unit OT by phone at 916-322-8323.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Monday, January 4, 2021
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