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Interim Rule: Direct Certification and Certification of Homeless, Migrant and Runaway Children for Free School Meals

Publication Date
Resource type
Interim Final Rule

This rule amends the regulations affecting the determination of children's eligibility for free meals under the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program by direct certification and categorical eligibility. Conforming changes and miscellaneous technical changes are also made, as appropriate, for the Special Milk Program for Children, the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Summer Food Service Program.

The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (Reauthorization Act) amended the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to require local educational agencies to conduct direct certification in conjunction with the Food Stamp Program, which is now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Under the direct certification process, a local educational agency obtains documentation of a child's receipt of SNAP benefits from the State or local SNAP office. This rule also incorporates provisions from the Reauthorization Act concerning the certification of certain children who are homeless, runaway, or migratory.

This rule affects state agencies administering SNAP and the child nutrition programs; local offices administering SNAP; local program operators that administer the school nutrition programs; and low income households with school age children. The rule is intended to improve school meal program access for low-income children, reduce paperwork for households and program administrators, and improve the integrity of the free and reduced price meal certification process.

Page updated: May 27, 2021