Resource | Research | Program Access
Examining the Potential to Expand Data Matching in the School Meal Program Eligibility and Verification Processes

This White Paper examines whether any additional means-tested programs might be feasible for use in the direct certification of school-age children participating in school meals or for verification of household income on meal applications.

Resource | Research
Community Eligibility Provision Evaluation

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) provided schools and districts that predominately serve low-income children with a new option for meal certification.  Under the Community Eligibility Provision, schools do not collect or process meal applications for free and reduced-price meals served in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.  Schools must serve all meals at no cost with any costs in excess of the Federal reimbursement paid from non-Federal sources.  The evaluation, mandated by HHFKA, examined the implementation and impacts of the Community Eligibility Provision.

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
School Food Authority Administration of National School Lunch Program Free and Reduced Price Eligibility Determination

From July to September 2002, the Food and Nutrition Service reviewed the free and reduced price (F/RP) eligibility determination process (i.e., application, verification, reapplication, meal ticket status) for each of 3,474 applications selected for verification in 14 large School Food Authorities in the 2001-02 school year. These SFAs enroll nearly one million children, among whom 45 percent were approved for free meals and 7 percent were approved for reduced price meals as of October 31, 2001.