Under the pilot project authority in Section 18(c) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA), 42 USC 1769(c), the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will conduct additional demonstration projects to expand the evaluation of direct certification with Medicaid (DC-M) for both free and reduced price (f/rp) meal eligibility in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). DC-M is the use of Medicaid data files to identify children eligible to receive meals through the NSLP and SBP at free or reduced price without need of application.
State agencies that administer the NSLP and SBP may apply to participate in the demonstration project and conduct direct certification with Medicaid for both free and reduced price school meals in a portion of the local education agencies (LEAs) within their state or on a statewide basis. This opportunity applies to states that are not approved to participate in existing demonstration projects that started prior to school year (SY) 2020-21. It also applies to states that are participating in existing free price meal demonstration projects but are interested in conducting direct certification for both free and reduced price meal eligibility in all or a portion of their LEAs.
In these demonstration projects, direct certification using Medicaid data is limited to children who are members of households with income that does not exceed the following NSLP income standards:
- Free school meal eligibility, 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for the family size used by Medicaid; and
- Reduced price school meal eligibility, 185 percent of the FPL for the family size used by Medicaid.
State agencies that administer the NSLP and SBP are invited to apply to participate in these demonstration projects to evaluate DC-M. Because FNS recognizes the challenges and time needed to establish data-sharing agreements and implement system changes so that data matching can begin. This Request for Applications (RFA) provides state agencies sufficient time to accomplish those requirements:
- Applications are due by Sept. 30, 2022, for demonstration projects beginning on July 1, 2023 for SY 2023-24.
- Direct Certification Medicaid Demonstration Project Request For Applications
- Direct Certification Medicaid Demonstration Project Request For Applications Appendix A - Application Template
- Direct Certification Medicaid Demonstration Project Request For Applications Appendix B - Letters of Commitment Templates
- USDA Demonstration Project to Evaluate Using Medicaid Eligibility Data to Directly Certify Children for Free and Reduced Price School Meals
- USDA Direct Certification With Medicaid for Free and Reduced-Price Meals Demonstration, SY 2019-20
- Evaluation of the Direct Certification with Medicaid for Free and Reduced-Price Meals Demonstrations, Year 2, SY 2017-18
- Evaluation of the Direct Certification with Medicaid for Free and Reduced-Price Meals Demonstration - Year 1, SY 2016-17
- Evaluation of Demonstrations of Direct Certification of Children Receiving Medicaid Benefits for Free School Meals: Year 1 SY2012-13