This interim rule amends the regulations on eligibility determinations for free and reduced price school meals to implement nondiscretionary provisions of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004. In this interim rule, the statutory definition of “local educational agency” is added. In addition, this interim rule specifies that a family only has to submit one application for all children in the household as long as they attend schools in the same local educational agency and requires enhancement of the descriptive materials distributed to families.
This rule provides for electronically-submitted applications, addresses electronic signatures and establishes use and disclosure standards for such applications. This rule establishes that eligibility for free or reduced price school meals remains valid for one year unless the household chooses to decline a level of benefits. These changes are intended to provide children with increased access to the school nutrition programs by simplifying the certification process, streamlining program operations and improving program management.