Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program State Implementation Progress, School Year 2010-2011 Report to Congress

This report responds to the requirement of PL 110-246 to assess the effectiveness of state and local efforts to directly certify children for free school meals. Under direct certification, children are determined eligible for free school meals without the need for household applications by using data from other means-tested programs. 

Resource | Policy Memos | FNS-GD-2011-0066
Direct Certification and Zero Benefit Households

Section 9(b)(12)(A)(i) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act restricts categorical eligibility for free school meals based on SNAP participation to children who are members of a household receiving assistance under SNAP. Therefore, a child who is a member of a household that is receiving “zero benefits” from SNAP is not categorically eligible for free meals, unless the child is categorically eligible for another reason.

SP03-2012
Resource | Research
Analysis of Verification Summary Data School Year 2008-2009

This report summarizes the results of the school year (SY) 2008-2009 application verification process for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). Each year, Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) review a sample of applications that they approved for free or reduced-price school meal benefits at the start of the school year.

Resource | Policy Memos | FNS-GD-2011-0003
Letter Method for Direct Certification

The purpose of this memorandum is to implement a provision affecting mandatory direct certification for children in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program households.

SP13-2011
Resource | Policy Memos | FNS-GD-2004-0031
Verification of Income Eligibility – Reauthorization 2004 Implementation

Effective July 1, 2004, school officials verifying income eligibility for free and reduced price meals must allow households to provide documentation of income for any point in time between the month prior to application and the time the household is required to provide income documentation.

SO 5-2004
Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Evaluation of the National School Lunch Program Application/Verification Pilot Projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sponsored the NSLP Application/Verification Pilot Projects to test ways to improve the process for certifying students for free or reduced-price meals. This report presents findings on the impacts of two alternatives to the current application-based certification process - Up-Front Documentation and Graduated Verification - that were tested in 12 public school districts over a three-year period.

Resource | Policy Memos | FNS-GD-2004-0019
Duration of Households’ Free and Reduced Price Meal Eligibility Determination - Reauthorization 2004: Implementation Memo - SP 3

The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 specifies that households’ eligibility for free and reduced price meals shall remain in effect beginning on the date of eligibility for the current school year and ending on a date during the subsequent school year, as determined by the Secretary.

Reauthorization 2004: Implementation Memo - SP 3
Resource | Policy Memos | FNS-GD-2004-0018
Exclusion of the Housing Allowance for Military Households in Privatized Housing - Reauthorization 2004: Implementation Memo CN 1

In accordance with the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, the housing allowance for military personnel living in privatized housing will be permanently excluded from income when determining household eligibility for free and reduced price meals or free milk in all of the child nutrition programs.

Reauthorization 2004: Implementation Memo CN 1
Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Case Study of National School Lunch Program Verification Outcomes in Large Metropolitan School Districts

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) provide federal financial assistance and commodities to schools serving lunches and breakfasts that meet required nutrition standards. Under the NSLP and the SBP, millions of American students receive a free or reduced-price lunch and/or breakfast every school day. Concern has grown recently that many students who participate in the program may in fact be ineligible for the benefits they receive. School Food Authorities (SFAs) that operate the NSLP must verify the eligibility of a small sample of approved applications by requiring documentation of income or receipt of food stamps or cash assistance. The verification process is designed to identify and deter errors in each district. However, the system does not provide data on the accuracy of benefit determination nationwide. This report presents the results of a case study of verification in 21 large metropolitan SFAs around the country. The study examined outcomes of the verification process and made an independent assessment of income eligibility of households with specific verification outcomes using data from in-person interviews with families.