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Welcome to the Certification and Benefit Issuance Workshop

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Presentation on theme: "Welcome to the Certification and Benefit Issuance Workshop"— Presentation transcript:

1 Welcome to the Certification and Benefit Issuance Workshop
Department of Agriculture School Nutrition Programs Introduce the presenters and review contents of the packet. Turn off cell phones and let them know where restrooms are. Division updates if applicable.

2 Objectives To make accurate eligibility determinations
To develop the Benefit Issuance Document (BID) To effectively manage the benefit issuance process We want the participants to “walk away” from this workshop with all the necessary tools to process/manage the district’s determination process. The participants will leave the “building” confident, ready to tackle this job and be ready for an AR. Survey the group to see who is new to the determining process.

3 Importance of the Certification Documents
To ensure: Eligible students receive the benefits to which they are entitled Reimbursement claims are accurate The determining official’s job is very important and should not be taken lightly. Incorrect determination may cause an error in the reimbursement voucher. Incorrectly determined applications can mean that the school may lose revenue. The district may have to repay reimbursement money received as a result of meals incorrectly claimed.

4 Fiscal Year 2014 Public Reimbursement Rates
Free $2.985 Reduced $2.585 Paid $0.320 Announce the rates.

5 Fiscal Year 2014 Non Public Reimbursement Rates
Free $2.93 Reduced $2.53 Paid $0.28 Announce the rates. 5

6 Direct Certification Procedures
Direct Certification (D/C) must be conducted three times during the year: Between July 15 – but not later than September 1 Between Sept 9 – Sept 30 Between January 9 – January 31 Update changes from additional matches There are numerous ways to qualify for a free/reduced priced meal. Discuss DC: a match between the school’s enrollment database and individuals receiving SNAP/TANF benefits. This match must be conducted three times per school year. The benefits of DC are: Increase program efficiency Lower labor costs due to reduced processing of paper applications Provides a quick, easy and accurate method to certify students, esp. those reluctant to submit an application Reduces number of students to verify

7 Prior to School Starting
Conduct the 1st DC match prior to distributing applications SNEARS will provide a link to access DC Mail the DC Letter The link for DC was available through SNEARS as of July 15. DC training was already conducted, however, for those who did not attend they may view the DC WEBINAR located in SNEARS under trainings.

8 Direct Certification Students who are directly certified do not have to complete an application Benefits MUST be extended to other enrolled students living in the household who do not appear on the DC list When a completed application is returned from a DC household, discard or indicate DC and file separately Just a FYI to us: the next slide explains the “new” extension of benefits

9 Changes with DC New Improved
The “source of the DC’ is needed for the verification collection report Identifies if a student was directly certified through SNAP and/or TANF The DC process has been refined to capture: siblings not originally identified on the DC list USDA has developed a new verification collection summary form which asks LEAs to identify if a student was DC through SNAP or TANF. DC has been modified to indicate the source of the DC student. This information can be tallied by the LEA and recorded on the summary. Improvement to DC: It has always been challenging to find siblings not identified on the DC list. DC has been internally improve to help determine other students in the HH who are eligible for meal benefits.

10 When School Starts Distribute Applications Paper Online
Determine complete applications within 10 working days of receipt What is online you say? Many districts are now posting the lunch application on their home page giving the HHs the ability to print. Unfortunately, the application can not be just available online at this time and therefore, LEAs will still need another method of distribution. Applications must be determined within 10 working days of receipt To get applications returned: attach a neon colored cover sheet to the application stating that the youngest child should return the application. Most districts have success with this method, since Mom usually still goes through their back packs and the younger child usually will return papers back to the school.

11 Carryover of Previous Year’s Eligibility
If no application is received the prior year’s benefits can be carried over up to 30 operating days(beginning with the first day of school) into the current school year or until a new eligibility determination is made The new eligibility supersedes the carryover eligibility In the past, a student’s lunch benefits were carried over until September 30th. All districts must follow the regulation as stated above. For example: A child is free from the previous school year. The new school year begins on September 4th. The child’s free lunch status remains for 30 operating days, thus, a new lunch application would be required by October 15th. Remember, it is operating days not calendar days so if there are numerous holidays the district will have to factor in.

12 Income Applications Eligibility based on: -Household size
-Household income The district has established students who are directly certified, now the lunch applications will be coming in. There will be different types of applications. Discussing income apps first. To determine income applications you need to compare the household size to the income eligibility chart. First the participants must learn some definitions.

13 Household or Family A group of related or unrelated individuals living as one economic unit Foreign exchange student would be part of the household they were living with.

14 Economic Unit A group of related or unrelated people sharing housing, income and living expenses Household of one emancipated institutionalized

15 Required Information For Income Applications
Name(s) of child(ren) enrolled in district, school name and grade/ID Number for each child listed (Part 1) Names of ALL household members, including the child(ren) listed in Part 1 and if applicable foster children (Part 4, column 1) Participants should pull out SAMPLE #1 (Income app requirements). Stress that all households members have to be listed in Part 4. Column 3 box must be checked. If not checked and no income is listed behind the person’s name, the application is incomplete. On a review the application is pulled for incompleteness and fiscal action is assessed.

16 Required Information Continued…
Current gross income by source and frequency for each household member (Part 4, column 2) OR If no income, Part 4, column 3 must be checked Signature or printed name of adult household member (Part 5) Last 4 digits of Social Security Number of adult household member signing the application or check box if no Social Security Number (Part 5) The address and phone number are not required. The only required information is the parent signature or printed name and ONLY NEED LAST 4 digits of SSN or check box indicating they do not have one.

17 Gross Income Money earned before deduction of: *Income taxes
*Social Security taxes *Insurance premiums *Bonds *Garnished wages

18 Reportable Income Earnings from work Welfare, child support, alimony
Pensions, retirements, Social Security, veteran’s payment All other income including unemployment and disability First bullet Note: wages, salaries, tips, commission In regards to child support: if someone notes on the application that they are to get $200 per month for child support, but the husband does not pay up, the amount the wife is suppose to get should not be included in the total income. Split custody: use the status most advantageous to the child.

19 Excluded Income Cash income or value of benefits from excluded federal programs Military housing allowance Combat Pay Student financial assistance Loans, including bank loans Value of in-kind compensation Occasional earnings First bullet refers to cash income of food stamps, for example. Student financial aid for college. Loans are temporary and must be repaid. In-kind such as housing for clergy and military housing. Baby sitting and lawn mowing.

20 Special Income Situations
Seasonal Workers Project annual rate of income Self-employed Use last year’s income to project current net income Landscapers (seasonal worker). Teachers should provide their annual income.

21 Zero Income Temporary status is not an option
When zero income is listed, eligibility is now free If the income section is left blank it is an incomplete application If the income section is left blank the application is INCOMPLETE and further information must be obtained before a determination can be made.

22 Income Guidelines Use Income Eligibility Guidelines Chart effective
July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2014 AND/OR Income Eligibility Guidelines Chart with Error Prone Range effective July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2014 Remember there are now 2 charts for your convenience.

23 Determining Household Income
If all frequencies are the same, total incomes and compare to the income guidelines (DO NOT ANNUALIZE) If two or more income frequencies, must annualize incomes, and compare to guidelines Read slide

24 What is the student’s eligibility?
Same Frequency Household size: 4 Income one: $2,000 monthly Income two: $500 monthly Total income: $2,500 monthly What is the student’s eligibility? FREE Have the participants take out the IEGs and read through the example. Stress the importance of just adding the salaries together. The answer FREE should “float” in.

25 Annual Income Conversion Formulas
WEEKLY X 52 EVERY 2 WEEKS X 26 TWICE A MONTH X 24 MONTHLY X 12 For those districts using a software package to approve applications, they must be sure that these conversion formulas are in the system. We have found cases where they are still using weekly times 4.33

26 Different Frequencies
Household size: 4 Income one: $1,000 monthly x 12 = $12,000 Income two: $500 weekly x 52 = $26,000 Total income: $38,000 annually What is the student’s eligibility? REDUCED Again, refer to the IEG. Answer of reduced should “float” in.

27 What is Error Prone? An approved application:
-Weekly: $0 -$25 below the free or reduced price income eligibility limit -Every two weeks: $0 - $50 below the free or reduced price income eligibility limit -Twice a month: $0 - $50 below the free or reduced price -Monthly: $0 - $100 below the free or reduced price income -Annually: $0 - $1200 below the free or reduced price Pull out the sample application #2 and form #178 and review. Example: Family of four earning 28,800 a year. Is that error prone? YES. Free and within $1165 of the max Family of three and the earn 679 a week. Is that error prone? Yes. Reduced and within $1 Family of four making $29,978 per year. Is that error prone? No, it is reduced and not even near the reduced cut off but just above the free guidelines. Family of three make $685 per week; $5 over they are denied, so they are not error prone. Purpose of error prone identifies people who may be reporting information fraudulently.

28 Is this application error prone?
Household of 4 Income $567/week Free eligible $589 weekly IEG -$25 error prone identifier $564 Basically read the slide Error prone range $589 $564 $567 Yes

29 Is this application error prone?
Household of 2 Income $2,280/month Reduced price eligible $2,392 monthly IEG -$100 error prone identifier $2,292 Basically read the slide Error prone range $2,392 $2,292 $2,280 No

30 FYI Identify error prone applications at the time of determination
Error prone applications are the applications used in selecting the sample size for the verification process Some of the POS software will determine error prone for you. Come to the verification training to learn more.

31 Types Of Categorical Applications
NJ SNAP (Food Stamps) TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) Foster Child Migrant Students Homeless Students Runaway Students Another form of application: NJ SNAP is Food Stamps SNAP is Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program TANF is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families We will review each of these separately.

32 NJ SNAP or TANF Applications
Names of all children enrolled in district, school name and grade/ID number for each child listed (Part 1) NJ SNAP or TANF case number for at least one household member (Part 2) Signature or printed name of adult household member (Part 5) A Social Security Number is not required (Part 5) Pull out sample application # 3 and review. Medicaid or WIC numbers are not acceptable because they do not have an expiration date.

33 Foster Child Procedures
Categorical Eligibility Application not required if documentation received If an application is received, the foster child must be included as a household member in Part 4 Foster child can qualify three ways. We will go over each in detail.

34 Foster Child Option 1 Household provides documentation from DYFS
No application needed Determined free List on the BID as Free Categorical (excluded from verification) This situation is handled much like DC. Keep documentation on file and they do not need a number on the BID.

35 What is Documentation for a Foster Child?
Documentation from an appropriate State or local agency indicating the status of the child as a foster child whose care and placement is the responsibility of the State or the foster child has been placed with a caretaker by the court Foster Families will receive a new and updated “Resource Family Parent Identification Letter” (DYFS 5-49)

36 Application Submitted for
Foster Child Option 2 Application Submitted for a Foster Child Only Name of foster child, school name, grade/ID number are listed and foster child box is checked (Part 1) Foster child must be listed as a household member (Part 4, column 1) Personal use income is listed or the no income box is checked (Part 4, column 2) Pull out sample #4 and review it.

37 Foster Child Option 2 continued…
Foster parent signs application (Part 5) No Social Security Number is necessary No documentation is necessary List on the BID as Free Categorical (excluded from verification)

38 Foster Child Option 3 Application Submitted for the Foster Child
and Other Household Members Name of foster child and all children enrolled in district, school name and grade/ID number for each child listed (Part 1) Foster child box is checked (Part 1) Foster child and all household members including the child(ren) listed in Part 1 must be listed as part of the household (Part 4, column 1) Pull out sample #5 and review it.

39 Foster Child Option 3 continued…
Current gross income by source and frequency for each household member (Part 4, column 2) OR If no income, Part 4, column 3 must be checked Signature or printed name of foster parent (Part 5) Last 4 digits of Social Security Number of adult household member signing the application or check box if no Social Security Number (Part 5)

40 Foster Child Option 3 continued…
No documentation is necessary Foster child is listed on BID as Free Categorical Remaining children are determined based on household size (which includes the foster child) and income Remaining children are listed on BID based on determination Note in this situation one application could have 2 different determinations.

41 Migrant Students Automatically eligible for free meals if designated by the Migrant Education Program (MEP) Migrant Education Program (MEP) (856) x1055 (South) (973) x230 (North) List on the BID under Free Categorical (Excluded from Verification) If an application is received Part 1 and 3 must be completed and MEP liaison must confirm eligibility. So MEP liaison could have a list or a letter in lieu of an application.

42 Homeless Students Automatically eligible for free meals, if designated by the local educational agency liaison or the director of the homeless shelter Local educational liaison or director of the homeless shelter can complete “Documentation for Homeless Students” (Form #146) A letter or other documentation from the homeless shelter is also acceptable List on the BID under Free Categorical (Excluded from Verification) NO APPLICATION IS NEEDED AS LONG AS LEL DEEMS THEM HOMELESS. Definition of homeless if needed: As defined by statute this definition includes children who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or are living in motels, hotels trailer parks or campgrounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations. Are living in emergency or transitional shelters, are abandoned in hospitals or awaiting foster placement. Children or youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for use as a regular sleeping accommodation. Children or youths living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned building substandard housing, bus or train stations.

43 Runaway Students Must participate in Runaway and Homeless Youth Program under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) LEA Liaison must contact the RHYAP to obtain documentation List on the BID under Free Categorical (Excluded from Verification) Form #146 can be used here just like homeless

44 Questionable Applications
Inconsistencies or questionable information must be resolved Can deny application or contact household Household contacts must be documented, dated and initialed on the application The application must be denied if inconsistencies or questions are not resolved Example: When they scribble their names or income and you can not decipher. If you decide to contact the household the contact must be documented, dated and initialed on the application or you can just down right out deny them! If so send them form #70.

45 Incomplete Applications
Can deny application or contact household When contacting the household Document the details of contact, date and initial entry on application If information is not obtained, application must be denied If you choose to contact them use form #64. Pull out Form #64. (Letter to Notify Household of Incomplete Application) The determining official must document contacts on the applications and date and initial the entry. The only time you must return the application is if the signature is missing. OR You can just down right out deny them. Then send form #70.

46 Why is this application denied?
Over the income guidelines Incomplete A letter to notify the household of eligibility status (Form #70 or a letter with all the same contents) must be sent to the household Read slide. Remember denied is not the same as “not interested or not applying”. Pull out form #70 (letter to notify household of eligibility status)

47 If you get an application with “Do not wish to apply” or “Not interested” What do you do?
ANSWER Keep in separate file until the end of the school year AND Do Not number or record on BID

48 Final Steps for Determining Officials
Determine eligibility Review for accuracy Indicate if “error prone” A second look for accuracy is strongly suggested Complete school use only box Notify the household (Form #70) State law does not require an application to be submitted by each household. The federal lunch application does not have the section “I do not wish to apply”. The DO must sign and date the application and indicate the correct category. The confirming official is not completed at this time. ACTIVITY OF APPS

49 Final Steps at Central Location
Cross reference and eliminate duplicates Assign applications a number Do not assign D/C Students a number File applications numerically Develop the district BID Print district and school BID Distribute school BID to appropriate parties What is your central location? Can be at the BOE or 1 school or site. Let’s face it you will get duplicates and it is your responsibility to staple those together, resolve conflicts, (make sure info is consistent) and put most recent app on top.

50 Sharing Eligibility Information with Medicaid/NJ Family Care
Households must return the NJ Family Care Sharing Form only if they DO NOT want information shared All households receive the form with the application for free/reduced price meals Refer to the form

51 Sharing Eligibility Information With Other Programs
Consent needed For specific organizations Use Sharing Information With Other Programs Form to get consent Household’s consent not needed Aggregate information “Need to know” for other Federal/State programs Aggregate means statistical or groups of numbers, therefore not specific and giving a list of students’ names. Need to know with no parental consent includes any federal, state educational programs including no child left behind, standardized tests and Title I. Names can not be released for free prom tickets, free athletics or busing without a completed form on file. Form 124 comes in all languages and is on the federal website. List specific organizations. Any new organizations that may come up during the school year and wasn’t listed on the original waiver must now be on a new waiver.

52 Note Eligibility determinations are valid for the entire school year unless the household reapplies to change their benefits In the past households were to notify the districts if their income changed and that is no longer necessary. This also applies to DC students who are identified on the July list and then never appear again. Their status is good for the entire year.

53 If Households Reapply . . . Attach most current application on top
Determine the application Update the BID Extend changes to all student(s) in the district Make changes in meal counting and claiming system at school level In addition to reapplying you may have a change in eligibility due to AUDIT FINDINGS complete Form #255, ERRORS IN DETERMINATION AND VERIFICATION RESULTS. This will be reviewed at the verification training.

54 Withdrawn Students Students who leave the district
Record date of withdrawal on application If only one student on the application withdraws, record date next to the student’s name Record date of withdrawal on BID When only one child withdraws and some or any siblings stay in the district the name of the child that has left is highlighted and the date the child left must be indicated next to the child’s name and changed on the BID. If the whole household leaves, then update the BID to indicate the household withdrew in the withdraw col.

55 Withdrawn Students Continued…
Keep original application at central office Update meal counting and claiming system at school level

56 Point of Sale (POS) Database
All enrolled students must be in the database The eligibility determination must be the same on the BID and in the computer database POS list can be used as a BID if date of approval is recorded POS terminals are becoming more and more popular. They generally work successfully. Important: The review process has changed. During an AR, the applications/DC list will be checked against the POS list. Just keep these requirements for POS in mind.

57 POS Database Continued…
POS database must be available school by school If the computer system is not able to retrieve historical eligibility information, sponsors must print the point of sale list for each month and manually record changes

58 Civil Rights Who’s Obligated to Comply?
Any recipients of Federal financial assistance from USDA How to Comply? Enforce regulations prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, sex and age We are responsible for providing civil rights training to our sponsors. They need to comply with civil rights rules and regulations since they receive federal funds from USDA.

59 Public Notification Non-discrimination statements on all publications, including websites “…And Justice for All Poster” must be prominently displayed in the service area Alert them to these facts.

60 Data Collection and Reporting
Collect ethnic and racial data for each school’s enrollment and free, reduced priced and denied applicants The collection of the data is through observation, personal knowledge or voluntary self ID Documentation must be maintained for three years Completion of civil rights form. Have them pull it out.

61 Complaints of Discrimination
Complaints of discrimination must be immediately forwarded in writing to the offices of Regional Food Nutrition Services and the Division of Food and Nutrition Complaints will be investigated by interviews with both parties, witnesses and collaborative contacts Discrimination complaints must be reported and investigated. Thank you for attending.

62 Thank you for attending the workshop!
Department of Agriculture School Nutrition Programs

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