Does your student qualify for free or reduced-price meals?

Only one online or paper application per household is required, but families must remember to reapply every year.

Apply online for FASTEST processing of your free or reduced-price meal application at

Applications can also be downloaded and returned to Nutrition Services, Attn: Patsy Neas, 3321 S. Union Ave., Tacoma, WA 98407. Paper applications must be submitted in original format. No photocopies, faxes or emails.

TPS does not share Free & Reduced Meal data without parent consent.

Downloadable applications:

Cambodian (Khmer) 

Questions? Contact Nutrition Services at (253) 571-3370 or

​FAQs - Free & Reduced Price Meal Application

Who should fill out an application?

Families should fill out the application if:

  • Total household income is the SAME or LESS than the amount in the chart below.
  • You receive Basic Food, take part in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), or receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) for your children.
  • You are applying for foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court.

Turn in the application to your school, or you can mail or bring the application to the Nutrition Services Office at 3321 S. Union Ave., Tacoma, WA 98409. For FASTEST processing, apply online at

Be sure to submit ONLY ONE application per household. We will notify you by mail if the application is approved or denied. If any child you are applying for is homeless (McKinney-Vento), or migrant, check the appropriate box.

If you have already received a letter informing you that DSHS has qualified you for free meals for the 2019-20 school year, then you DO NOT need to fill out an application. 

What counts as income? Who is considered a member of a household?

Look at the income chart below. First, find your household size, then find your total household income. If members in the household are paid at different times during the month and you are unsure if your household is eligible, fill out an application and we will determine your income eligibility for you. The information you give will be used to determine your child's eligibility for free or reduced-price meals.

Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free meals regardless of personal use income. If you have questions about applying for meal benefits for foster children, please contact us at 253-571-3370.

USDA Child Nutrition Program Income Guidelines

Effective July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020

Household sizeAnnualMonthlyTwice Per MonthEvery two WeeksWeekly
For each add'l family member, add:$8,177$682$341$315$158

HOUSEHOLD is defined as all persons, including parents, children, grandparents, and all people related or unrelated who live in your home and share living expenses. If applying for a household with a foster child, you may include the foster child in the total household size.

HOUSEHOLD INCOME is considered to be the income each household member received before taxes. This includes wages, social security, pension, unemployment, welfare, child support, alimony, and any other cash income. If including a foster child as part of the household, you must also include the foster child's personal income. Do not report foster payments as income.

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. You must send in a new application unless you received notification from the Nutrition Services department of eligibility for the new school year.

What must be on the application?

  1. For households not getting any assistance:
  • Student name(s)
  • Names of all household members
  • Income by source for all household members
  • Adult household member's signature
  • Last 4 digits of social security number of the adult household member who signs the application (or if the adult signing does not have a social security number, check the associated box).

    Complete Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5; Part 6 is optional.

    B. For households with only foster child(ren)
  • Student's name
  • Adult household member signature

    Complete Parts 1 and 5; Part 6 is optional. You may also send the school a copy of the court documentation showing the foster child(ren) was/were placed with you instead of filling out an application form.

    C. For a family getting Basic Food/TANF/FDPIR:
  • List all student names
  • Enter a case number
  • Adult household member's signature

    Complete Parts 1, 2, 4 and 5. Part 6 is optional.
    Last 4 digits of SSN are not required for C.

    D. For households with foster child(ren) and other children:

    Apply as a household and include foster child(ren). Follow the directions for "A. For households not getting any assistance" and include the foster child's personal use income. 

Please contact Nutrition Services immediately at 253-571-3370 or if you have questions about how to report certain income, feel your child or children should be receiving free meals and are not, or have any other question about Nutrition Services or your child's application.

Proof of Eligibility

The information you provide may be verified at any time. You may be asked to send additional information to prove your child is eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals.

Fair Hearing

If you do not agree with the decision on your child's application or the process used to prove income eligibility, you may talk with Assistant Director of Facilities Paul Harris, the hearing official. You have the right to a fair hearing which may be arranged by calling the school district at 253-571-3370.


You may reapply for benefits at any time during the school year. If you should have a decrease in household income, an increase in household size, become unemployed, or receive Basic Food, FDPIR or TANF, you may be eligible for benefits and can contact Nutrition Services at 253-571-3370.


Basic Food - Basic Food is the state's food stamp program. It helps households make ends meet by providing monthly benefits to buy food. Getting Basic Food is easy! You can apply in person at the local DSHS Community Service Office, by mail, or online. There are other benefits too. You can learn about Basic Food by calling 1-877-501-2233 or by logging on to

Health Coverage - To inquire about or apply for health care coverage for kids in your family, please visit or you may call Washington Health Plan Finder at 1-855-923-4633.