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Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations

Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program Report to Congress: State Implementation Progress, School Year 2014-2015

This report responds to the requirement of PL 110-246 to assess the effectiveness of state and local efforts to directly certify children for free school meals. Direct certification is a process conducted by the states and by local educational agencies to certify eligible children for free meals without the need for household applications. 

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations

The Second Access, Participation, Eligibility, and Certification Study (APEC II): Estimating and Validating Statistical Models for Updating Estimates of Improper Payments in the NSLP and SBP

Statistical models were designed to estimate national improper payments due to certification error on an annual basis using district-level data. This enables FNS to update its estimates of national improper payment rates for the NSLP and SBP in future years without having to conduct full rounds of primary data collection.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations

Approaches to Measuring Erroneous Payments in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program At The State Level

The second Access, Participation, Eligibility and Certification Study (APEC II) included a follow-on report that provided statistically-derived state-level estimates of school meals erroneous payments. However, while APEC II provided a rough indicator of relative risk for groups of states (e.g., higher than average, about average, lower than average), it was not a state-representative direct measure, and creating actual annual measures of such erroneous payments at the state level using APEC methodology is cost-prohibitive. This report explores alternative approaches to developing measurement-based state-specific estimates that are responsive to year-to-year changes in the actual underlying rate in each state. It also provides cost and burden estimates for the implementation of each of these methods.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations

Regional Office Review of Applications (RORA) for School Meals 2015

This is the 11th in a series of annual reports that examines the administrative accuracy of eligibility determinations and benefit issuance for free or reduced-price meals in the National School Lunch Program.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations

Regional Office Review of Applications (RORA) for School Meals 2014

This is the tenth in a series of annual reports to examine administrative errors incurred during the local educational agency’s (LEA) approval process of household applications for free and reduced-price meals in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). This report examines administrative error estimates in student certification for free and reduced-price NSLP meals.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations

Program Error in the NSLP and SBP: Findings from the Second Access, Participation, Eligibility and Certification Study (APEC II)

FNS developed the Access, Participation, Eligibility and Certification (APEC) study series, which collects and analyzes data from a nationally representative sample of schools and school food authorities (SFAs) about every 5 years. APEC allows FNS to develop a national estimate of erroneous payment rates and amounts in three key areas: certification error, meal claiming error and aggregation error.  FNS recently completed APEC II, which collected data in School Year 2012-2013 and this report summarizes those findings.

Resource | Research | Demonstrations

Evaluation of Demonstrations of National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program Direct Certification of Children Receiving Medicaid Benefits: Access Evaluation Report

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 required the Food and Nutrition Service to conduct a demonstration that adds Medicaid to the list of programs used to directly certify students for free school meals. Although students receiving Medicaid are not categorically eligible for free meals, the DC-M demonstration authorizes selected States and districts to use income information from Medicaid files to directly certify those students found to be eligible for free meals.

Resource | Research | Demonstrations

Evaluation of Demonstrations of National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program Direct Certification of Children Receiving Medicaid Benefits: Year 1 Report

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA; PL 111-296) required the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to conduct a demonstration that adds Medicaid to the list of programs used to directly certify students for free school meals. Although students receiving Medicaid are not categorically eligible for free meals, the DC-M demonstration authorizes selected States and districts to use income information from Medicaid files to directly certify those students found to be eligible for free meals.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations

Regional Office Review of Applications ( RORA) for School Meals 2013

The study generates national estimates of administrative error in eligibility determinations and benefit issuance for free or reduced-price school meals.  For school year (SY) 2012-2013, local education agencies (LEAs) correctly certified 96.4 percent of students who applied for meal benefits.  LEAs assigned the correct free, reduced-price, or paid status to a slightly smaller 96.2 percent of students.  Roughly three quarters of certification and benefit issuance error resulted in a higher benefit level than was justified based on the data presented on household applications; about one quarter of LEA administrative error resulted in a lower benefit level than justified.  Certification and benefit issuance error increased slightly from SY 2011-2012 to SY 2012-2013, but the changes were not statistically significant.  Over the nine years of this report series, certification error has ranged between 2.0 and 3.9 percent; benefit issuance error has ranged between 3.0 and 4.6 percent.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations

Analysis of Verification Summary Data School Year 2007-2008

This report summarizes the results of the school year (SY) 2007-2008 application verification process for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program. Each year, Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) review a sample of applications that they approved for free or reduced-price school meal benefits at the start of the school year. Households do not provide documentation of income or participation in means-tested public assistance programs at the time they submit applications for school meal benefits. However, if selected for verification review, households must submit such documentation to maintain their free or reduced-price certifications. Households whose benefits are to be reduced or terminated as a result of the verification process are given an opportunity to appeal. In addition, households remain free to reapply for benefits at any time.