Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Study of Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program

The NSLP offers free and reduced-price school meals to students from eligible households. Households with incomes at or below 130 percent of poverty are eligible for free meals, and households with incomes between 131 percent and 185 percent of poverty are eligible for reduced-price meals. Traditionally, to receive these benefits, households had to complete and submit application forms to schools or be directly certified. Direct certification, on the other hand, is a method of eligibility determination that does not require families to complete school meal applications. Instead, school officials use documentation from the local or state welfare agency that indicates that a household participates in AFDC or food stamps as the basis for certifying students for free school meals.

Resource | Research | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
The Extent of Trafficking in the Food Stamp Program: An Update

Food stamps are intended for food. When individuals sell their benefits for cash it violates the spirit and intent of the Food Stamp Program as well as the law. This practice, known as trafficking, diverts food stamps away from their purpose. It reduces intended nutritional benefits and undermines public perceptions of the integrity and utility of the program. A crucial question, therefore, is the extent to which trafficking exists. Several years ago, a method to calculate data-based estimates of the prevalence of trafficking was developed by USDA. The Extent of Trafficking in the Food Stamp Program used this method to analyze over 11,000 completed undercover investigations of trafficking and gene rate an estimate for calendar year 1993. This report duplicates the precise methodology of the earlier analysis with more than 10,000 new investigations to generate an estimate for the 1996 - 1998 calendar year period.