Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Privacy Protection and the Use of Social Security Numbers in Child Nutrition Programs

EO Guidance Document #
FNS Document #
SP19 CACFP09 SFSP06-2011
Resource type
Policy Memos
Guidance Documents
Resource Materials
PDF Icon Policy Memo (79.69 KB)
DATE:February 15, 2011
SUBJECT:Child Nutrition Reauthorization 2010: Privacy Protection and the Use of Social Security Numbers in Child Nutrition Programs
TO:Regional Directors
Special Nutrition Programs
All Regions
State Directors
Child Nutrition Programs
All Regions

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (the Act), PL 111-296, amends statutory requirements for collection of Social Security Numbers (SSNs) in all child nutrition programs. The purpose of this memorandum is to provide guidance on the implementation of this requirement.

Section 301 of the Act amends section 9(d)(1) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 USC 1758(d) (1)) by removing the requirement that the adult household member who signs a household application for free and reduced-price meals also must provide his or her complete SSN, as a condition of eligibility. As amended by the Act, Section 9(d)(1) now requires that only the last four digits of the SSN must be provided on the application. The Act also removes the requirement that the SSN of each household member be collected to verify applications. The new requirements increase privacy protections.

Because Section 301 of the Act became effective on Oct. 1, 2010, all household applications and supporting materials must be updated to reflect these requirements as soon as possible, but no later than July 1, 2011. It may be that state agencies, local educational agencies and institutions are not able to print all new materials for immediate use. However, state agencies must notify local educational agencies and institutions regarding the privacy protections and assist in developing mechanisms for implementation of the new statutory requirement.

FNS will provide updated prototype applications and supporting materials for all child nutrition programs in the near future.

State agencies should direct any questions concerning this guidance to the appropriate FNS regional office. Regional offices with questions should contact the child nutrition division.

Cynthia Long
Child Nutrition Division

Page updated: January 11, 2024

The contents of this guidance document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.