Back to School is Easier with Help from the Government
The start of a new school year is an important time for planning and preparation. For millions of children and teenagers, it’s time to plan new academic schedules and activities. For parents and guardians it’s a good time to plan financial support for school-aged children. There are several programs and resources available for families who qualify for federal assistance, including low cost lunches and affordable health insurance.
National School Lunch Program
Children who eat well perform better at school. That’s why the National School Lunch Program provides free, low-cost and nutritional lunches to eligible students (usually children from a family of four that makes about $29,055-$41,348 per year).
Enrollment is open year-round, so this program is especially useful if your family has had a sudden loss of income, say, due to a family member losing his or her job.
Some key facts about the program:
- It’s open for children up to 18 years of age
- It’s offered at daycare centers, public schools and private nonprofit schools enrolled in the program
- School lunches meet federal nutritional requirements, which means they limit fats and saturated fats and provide one third of the recommended dietary allowances of proteins necessary for a healthy diet
- Schools usually send application notices at the beginning of the school year. However, you can enroll at any time by filling out a form and submitting it to the school
Subsidized Health Care for Children
Health insurance is important to ensure regular check-ups and preventive care, as well as emergency treatment, for your child.
You can find affordable health care for your children through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Although each state manages its own program, it is generally open to families of four that make up to $44,100 per year.
This program offers many benefits, including:
- Doctor visits
- Prescription drugs
- Emergency care
- Dental services
You can get more information about this program by calling 1 (877) 543-7669 or visiting InsureKidsNow.gov.
Also, keep in mind that students going to college can remain on their parent’s health insurance policy until the age of 26 because of new provisions in the Affordable Health Act.
Get Your Children Vaccinated
Vaccines are important not only for the health of your child, but also for his or her classmates. Last year there were outbreaks of whooping cough and measles, which caused dozens of deaths among adults and children. Vaccinations could have helped prevent those outbreaks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have several vaccination resources including vaccination calendars that tell you which vaccines are needed and when.
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