Hundreds of thousands in unclaimed money sits in school lunch accounts

Diane Wilson Image
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
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Depending on what district you live in, you may need to claim any unused lunch funds in your child's online account, if your child is no longer in that district.

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- While it is back to school for many traditional school students in a few weeks if your child left the district or graduated, don't forget to claim any unused lunch funds. Depending on what district you live in, you may need to claim any unused lunch funds in your child's online account, if your child is no longer in that district.

The representative with the Wake County Public School System says the district has more than $324,000 of unclaimed funds in lunch accounts for students who graduated or left the district. If you're impacted, the deadline to claim these funds is September 1. To get your money, you need to fill out this form. A representative said they sent families an email and text message to remind them to request their school meal account refunds. If you don't request your money by September 1, a representative says the funds will be donated to support the district's school meal program for students.

For Durham Public Schools, a district representative says it has about $2,800 in lunch funds where students have either graduated or left the district. For DPS a representative said the district does not have a deadline for requesting funds, the money remains in students' accounts indefinitely until claimed.

For Cumberland County Schools, those students who graduated in 2022 have a total of $15,552.54 left in unclaimed funds. The deadline to claim funds is 60 days after the student withdraws. A representative with the district says, "The unclaimed funds remain in the Child Nutrition Services account. If the student has a sibling enrolled in a CCS school, we can transfer the funds to the sibling account at the parent/guardian's request even if beyond the sixty days."

No matter what district you're in, if you have a child who graduated or left that district or private school, and you believe you have lunch funds still in your child's account, reach out to see if you can get a refund.

During the height of the pandemic, federal waivers allowed all schools to offer free meals for all students, regardless of family income status. That waiver is not happening this year, so students will start being charged for lunch. To see if you qualify for free or reduced meals, you need to reach out to your child's school and apply. It does take time, so make sure you do it sooner than later.