Eligibility Manual for School Meals (Aug. 2013 edition) This manual contains information on Federal requirements regarding the determination & verification of eligibility for free & reduced price meals in the National School Lunch & Breakfast programs 4
The Eligibility Manual can be found on the USDA website: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/guidance/EliMan.pdf http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/guidance/EliMan.pdf 5
Direct Certification… Is the process of certifying children who are members of households receiving assistance under the Assistance Programs (SNAP, KTAP, Medicaid, Foster) as eligible for free meals, without further application, based on information provided by the State/local agency administering these programs. 7
Why Directly Certify? At the beginning of each month, KDE/SCN provides these DC lists via download : SNAP, KTAP, Medicaid & Foster. Fewer applications to process: You dont have to send applications to households in which the students are directly certified. If 40% or more of the enrolled students at a site are directly certified, the site is eligible to participate in the CEO program. 8
9 To request DC access, you must submit a User Registration Form to KDE/SCN
10 Access to DC files is limited to 2 people per district: 1. The food service director 2. A secondary user, designated by the food service director. User IDs & Passwords should not be shared with other users.
Direct Certification of Medicaid Eligible Students Only students on the Medicaid Direct Certification list can be approved for free meals. Not every child who receives Medicaid will be on the DC list. If a student is on the Medicaid Direct Certification list, eligibility for free meals extends to other students in the household. You may not approve students based on a Medicaid case number reported on a household application. 11
Notifying the Household of DC eligibility The LEA must notify the household of free lunch eligibility established through direct certification. 12
Notice of Direct Certification must state: -The child is eligible for free benefits -No further application is necessary -An explanation of extended eligibility & how to notify the LEA of any additional children in the household -How to notify the LEA if they do not want the benefits. 13
Direct Certification Record Keeping Maintain copies of the Notice of Direct Certification Print & keep the DC lists from the DC website 14
16 The Application Packet Contains: The Letter to Households Free and Reduced-Price School Meals Application Instructions
Application Changes The USDA has made no changes to the 2013- 14 Prototype Household Application USDA is revising the application for 2014-15 The Income guidelines have changed Sponsor alterations to the application must be approved in advance by Sue Bartenfield, SCN Program Manager. 17
18 Civil Rights The school meals application is available in foreign language translations for those with limited English proficiency www.fns.usda.gov/cnd
19 Civil Rights English Arabic Cambodian Chinese (Mandarin) Farsi French Greek Haitian Creole Hindi Hmong Japanese Korean Kurdish Laotian Polish Portuguese Russian Samoan Serbo-Croatian Somali Spanish Sudanese Urdu Vietnamese
21 You must include the current Reduced Price Income Guidelines with the application.
22 Processing Applications Send application packets to households on/after July 1 st. Include the current IEGs (Income Eligibility Guidelines). You must determine eligibility, notify the household, & implement the status within 10 operating days of receiving the returned application. Last years eligibility can be carried forward for 30 operating days or until a new eligibility determination is made. http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/governance/notices/iegs/iegs.htm
Note: The approval of an application cannot be delayed if the household fails to provide any information that is not required. For example, failure to include street address or phone number. 23
Ways to Determine Eligibility based on an application: Income eligibility. Categorical eligibility with case numbers. Other source categorical eligibility without case number. 24
Determination based on Income Eligibility All household members must be listed on the application. Household members who have no income must indicate this on the application by checking the No Income box. If not checked, income must be reported. 25
Current Income & Frequency Income must be identified with the individual who received it, the source of the income and the frequency. Households must report income for the current month, the prior month or the month after. In special situations, i.e. self-employed or seasonal workers, households may, with the assistance of the determining official, report annual income. 27
Other required information The application must be signed by an adult household member. The adult must provide the last 4 digits of his/her social security number (Not required if checking the I do not have a Social Security number box, if applying on behalf of a foster child or if listing a valid case number). 29
34 Income Conversion If there is only one source of income, or if all incomes are received at the same frequency, no income conversion is required. For example: John Smith $100/ week Sally Smith $200/ week Combine & report total income as $300/ week
36 If there are multiple incomes with more than one frequency, conversion is required. All of the incomes must be converted to annual income. For example: John Smith$100/ week Sally Smith$200/ month $100 x 52 weeks = $5,200/year $200 x 12 months = $2,400/year Total income: $7,600/year
38 The Conversion Factors: Weekly x 52 Bi-weekly(received every two weeks) x 26 Semi-monthly (received twice per month) x 24 Monthly x 12
39 Do not use conversion factors such as 4.33 to convert weekly income or 2.15 to convert bi-weekly income to monthly amounts. Check your application software program to ensure that correct conversion factors are being used. You must be sure an automatic conversion to monthly income does not occur.
Determination based on Categorical Eligibility with Case Numbers If a child, or any household member, lists a valid Assistance Program (SNAP, KTAP) case number on the application, they are eligible for free meals. Eligibility for free meals based on SNAP or KTAP extends to all children in the household. 40
Case Numbers Valid case numbers are: Social Security Numbers Invalid case numbers are: 000, 555, or 16-digits (EBT card numbers) If a valid case number is used on an application, the corresponding household members name must also be listed. On applications which provide valid case numbers, ignore reported income. 41
Determination based on Other Source Categorical Eligibility without Case Numbers Homeless Runaway Migrant Foster Child Federal Head Start Program Even Start Program (Eligibility for free meals under these programs does not extend to other children in the household) 43
45 Foster Child Must be formally placed by the court and the state will retain legal custody of the child May be identified by Direct Certification or on a household application Is counted as a member of the household if determining eligibility for other children in the household The foster childs income is only considered if the foster family applies for meal benefits for the non-foster children in the household.
Recordkeeping: Unapproved (Incomplete) Applications Prior to denial you may contact the household for more information. Document: Name of person contacted Information received Initials of person making the contact Date of contact Suggestion: Document in RED 48
Recordkeeping: Approved Applications On an approved application, the determining official must: Indicate approval date Indicate the level of benefit Sign or initial the application 49
Recordkeeping: Denied Applications On a denied application, the determining official must: Indicate denial date Indicate reason for denial Indicate date the denial notice was sent Sign or initial the application 53
Notifying the Household of Denied Benefits In writing, provide: Reason for Denial Right to Appeal Instructions on how to appeal A statement that family may re-apply at any time during the school year 55