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National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program Demonstration Projects to Evaluate Direct Certification with Medicaid

Authority

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.

Scope of Demonstration Projects

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.

Due Dates

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.

Application Package

CMCS Informational Bulletin

Direct Certification with Medicaid Reports

Updated: 08/18/2022