In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice invites the general public and other public agencies to comment on this proposed information collection. This is a new collection for the Evaluation of the Direct Certification with Medicaid for Free and Reduced-Price Meals (DCM-F/RP) Demonstrations.
Direct certification has improved access to free school meals while easing the burden on families and district staff by reducing the use of household applications and decreasing the number of students subject to verification for school meal benefit eligibility. Direct certification also improves program integrity because it is less error-prone than certification by application.
Recently, FNS has sought ways to further expand direct certification, including experimenting with allowing direct certification based on data from means-tested programs that do not confer categorical eligibility. Prior DCM demonstrations have authorized selected states and districts to use income information from Medicaid files to determine students' eligibility based on their household income and directly certify those students found to be eligible for free meals. The new DCM-F/RP demonstration expands the use of direct certification using income information from Medicaid files to include eligibility for reduced-price meals. The evaluation of the DCM-F/RP demonstration will investigate the processes, challenges, and outcomes of using Medicaid data to directly certify students.
The study will gather data from state, School Food Authority,  and state agency vendor staff, including (1) site visits and follow-up interviews to document DCM-F/RP processes, (2) administrative records on certification for school meal benefits and participation in the school meal programs, and (3) cost logs and clarification interviews on the state-level administrative costs of DCM-F/RP. Data will be collected for school year (SY) 2017-2018.
FNS is also conducting research with the state child nutrition and Medicaid agency officials, school district directors and school district food service staff to develop, test, and improve the evaluation data collection instruments and methodologies. This pre-testing burden was approved by the Office of Management and Budget on Dec. 19, 2016 under OMB # 0584-0606 FNS Generic Clearance for Pre-Testing, Pilot, and Field Test Studies