Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
NSLP/SBP Access, Participation, Eligibility, and Certification Study – Erroneous Payments in the NSLP and SBP

Program errors and the risk of erroneous payments in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) continue to be a concern. Slightly more than one in five students were certified inaccurately or erroneously denied benefits in school year (SY) 2005-06. New data estimates the gross cost of school meals erroneous payments due to certification error at about $935 million while other operational errors represent about $860 million. Most of the payment errors resulted from (1) household misreporting of income, (2) administrative errors by school districts in processing applications, and (3) errors by cashiers in counting reimbursable meals. The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) will use this new information to continue the extensive work underway, and step up its commitment to work with Congress and program partners to address these erroneous payments. Actions to reduce these errors must improve accuracy without compromising access for low-income families, must not unduly increase burden on schools, and must be cost-effective.

Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
Accuracy of SFA Processing of School Lunch Applications – Regional Office Review of Applications (RORA) 2006

This is the second in a series of annual reports assessing administrative errors associated with School Food Authorities’ (SFAs) approval of applications for free and reduced-price school meals. In school year 2005/06, more than 96 percent of students who were approved for meal benefits on the basis of an application were receiving the correct level of meal benefits, based on the information in the application
files. Three percent of all students who submitted an application for meal benefits had an administrative error in the processing of their applications, down slightly from 3.5 percent in the previous school year, although not statistically significant.