To ensure program integrity, school districts must sample household applications certified for free or reduced-price meals, contact the households, and verify eligibility. This process (known as household verification) can be burdensome for both school officials and households. Direct verification uses information from certain other means-tested programs to verify eligibility without contacting applicants. Potential benefits include: less burden for households, less work for school officials, and fewer students with school meal benefits terminated because of nonresponse to verification requests.
Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program: State Implementation Progress - Report to Congress
This report responds to the legislative 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.