Resource | Comment Request
Comment Request - Determining Eligibility for Free and Reduced Price Meals and Free Milk

This collection is a revision of a currently approved collection for determining eligibility for free and reduced price meals and free milk as stated in FNS regulations. These federal requirements affect eligibility under the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and the Special Milk Program and are also applicable to the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Summer Food Service Program when individual eligibility must be established

Resource | Webinars/Videos
Webinar: Verification Toolkit and Beginning Verification Before October 1

A brief overview of the resources contained in the Verification Toolkit, as well as a detailed walk-through outlining a few options for beginning verification before October 1.

Resource | Notices
Child Nutrition Programs: Income Eligibility Guidelines (July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020)

This notice announces the Department's annual adjustments to the Income Eligibility Guidelines to be used in determining eligibility for free and reduced price meals and free milk for the period from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.

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-2010-0016
Categorical Eligibility: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families

This is a reminder of the statutory and regulatory requirements for categorical eligibility for the Child Nutrition Programs based on receipt of benefits from each state’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. Section 9(b) (12) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act restricts categorical eligibility to those TANF programs with standards that are comparable to or more restrictive than those in effect on June 1, 1995.

SP 22-2010
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 | Policy Memos | FNS-GD-2014-0051
Eligibility Effective Date for Directly Certified Students

This memorandum addresses inquiries regarding flexibility in determining the effective date of eligibility for students who are directly certified to receive free meals or free milk in the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, and the Special Milk Program.

SP51-2014
Resource | Policy Memos | FNS-GD-2005-0036
Eligibility for Severe Need Rates for the School Breakfast Program

Section 220.9(d) of the School Breakfast Program (SBP) regulations outlines criteria for schools to qualify for severe need reimbursement. Included in these criteria is the requirement that 40 percent or more of the lunches served to students at that school in the second preceding school year were served free or at a reduced price. This criterion is intended to ensure that the severe need reimbursement rate is provided to schools which have already demonstrated that a high percentage of meals, defined as 40 percent or more of lunches, are being served to needy students.

SP 23-2005
Resource | Policy Memos | FNS-GD-2016-0051
Ensuring Year-long Eligibility in the School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs

The purpose of this memorandum is to strongly encourage local educational agencies (LEAs) to accept eligibility determinations from a transferring student’s former LEA to minimize disruptions in meal benefits for low-income students and avoid student debt resulting from unpaid meal charges. While most students will change schools at least once between kindergarten and 12th grade, data from the Department of Education show that low-income students change schools more often than their peers. 

SP51-2016
Resource | Policy Memos | FNS-GD-2005-0010
Statutory Changes in the Free and Reduced Price Eligibility Determination Process and Revised Prototype Application Implementation Memo

The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (PL 108-265), enacted June 30, 2004, amended sections of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA) affecting the eligibility determination process for free and reduced price benefits under the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and the Special Milk Program for Children.

SP-12-2005