Agreement Checklist for Direct Certification and Direct Verification of Children in Food Stamp Households – Reauthorization 2004: Implementation Memo – SP- 14
The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (PL 108-265) requires school districts to directly certify for free school meals any child who is a member of a household receiving assistance under the Food Stamp Program. PL 108-265 also gives school districts the option of using data available from the Food Stamp Program, in addition to other means tested programs specified in the law, to verify eligibility for free or reduced-price meals. In order to carry out these requirements, each state agency that administers the school meals programs and the state Food Stamp agency must enter into an agreement to establish direct certification and direct verification procedures.
The Child Nutrition Division, in conjunction with the Food Stamp Division, convened a work group on Jan. 26–27, 2005, to examine issues surrounding certification and verification as a result of the provisions of PL 108-265. One of the outcomes of the meeting was a request for FNS to develop the attached checklist of elements that an agreement between state agencies should contain. Please note that the direct certification requirements on school districts are phased in over time with full implementation being realized by July 2008. However, the statute requires all states to have a signed agreement by July 2005. Optional direct certification continues to be available to all school districts, regardless of size, during the implementation of mandatory direct certification.
Please note that the agreement must also establish that the Food Stamp agency must cooperate in carrying out direct verification for free and reduced-price school meals. Effective July 1, 2005, school districts, at their option, may obtain and use income and program participation information from public agencies administering certain programs, including Food Stamps, to verify eligibility for free and reduced-price meals. If the household’s eligibility is verified through these means, the family does not have to be contacted. Therefore, state agreements must include provisions relevant to Food Stamp administration on how local level requests for “direct verification” will be handled by the respective state agencies.
|STANLEY C. GARNETT
Child Nutrition Division
|ARTHUR T. FOLEY
Program Development Division