Resource | Notices
Child Nutrition Programs: Income Eligibility Guidelines (July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020)

This notice announces the Department's annual adjustments to the Income Eligibility Guidelines to be used in determining eligibility for free and reduced price meals and free milk for the period from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. These guidelines are used by schools, institutions, and facilities participating in the National School Lunch Program (and Commodity School Program), School Breakfast Program, Special Milk Program for Children, Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program.

Resource | Toolkits
Verification Toolkit

School Food Authorities (SFAs) participating in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program are required to verify income for a small percentage of households approved for free or reduced price meals each school year. However, getting households to respond to verification requests can be challenging for SFA staff. If households do not respond, they lose their benefits regardless of their actual eligibility. In addition, the number of approved applications an SFA is required to verify is impacted by the number of responses they were able to obtain the previous year.

Resource | Webinars/Videos
Webinar: Verification Toolkit and Beginning Verification Before October 1

A brief overview of the resources contained in the Verification Toolkit, as well as a detailed walk-through outlining a few options for beginning verification before October 1.

Resource | Policy Memos | SP36 CACFP15 SFSP11-2017
Eligibility Manual for School Meals

The manual provides comprehensive information on federal requirements, policies, and procedures, and is intended to help state agencies and local educational agencies accurately determine, certify, and verify children’s eligibility for free and reduced price school meals and free milk.

Resource | Policy Memos | SP20- 2017
Eligibility

This memorandum details guidance on the annual Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) notification and publication requirements and provides information on the USDA-developed reporting template.

Resource | Policy Memos | SP08 CACFP04 SFSP03-2017
Area Eligibility in Child Nutrition Programs
Resource | Policy Memos | SP51-2016
Ensuring Year-long Eligibility in the School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs

The purpose of this memorandum is to strongly encourage local educational agencies (LEAs) to accept eligibility determinations from a transferring student’s former LEA to minimize disruptions in meal benefits for low-income students and avoid student debt resulting from unpaid meal charges. While most students will change schools at least once between kindergarten and 12th grade, data from the Department of Education show that low-income students change schools more often than their peers. School changes can be disruptive to learning, but ensuring that students do not have a break in their access to free and reduced price meals can help ensure students and families make a successful transition.

Resource | Policy Memos | SP10 CACFP04 SFSP03-2015
Area Eligibility in Child Nutrition Programs

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide guidance on the use of school and census data to establish area eligibility in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). In addition, this memorandum consolidates previous guidance and simplifies the area eligibility determination process to reduce administrative burden on State agencies and Program operators.

Resource | Policy Memos | SP51-2014
Eligibility Effective Date for Directly Certified Students
Resource | Policy Memos | SP30-2014
Determining Eligibility for Two Cent Differential Reimbursement in New Schools

Section 4 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA) provides general cash for food assistance payments to states to assist schools in purchasing food. The NSLA provides two different section 4 payment levels for lunches served under the National School Lunch Program. The base payment applies to lunches served by School Food Authorities (SFAs) in which less than 60 percent of the lunches served during the second preceding year were served free or reduced price. Those SFAs in which 60 percent or more of the lunches served in the second preceding school year were served at free or reduced price receive two cents more. This higher payment rate is referred to as the two cent differential.