September 18, 2008 County Nutrition Directors

September 18, 2008
County Nutrition Directors
2008-2009 Free/Reduced Price Applications Verification
School food authorities are required to annually select and verify a sample of their approved free and
reduced price meal applications. Like last year, two different verification methods exist and each
individual county’s method used is based on the verification non-response rate from the preceding year
(2007-2008). The sample size (3 percent random or 1 1/2 percent focused) is based upon the number
of approved applications on file as of October 1, 2008. Prior to selecting the sample, please be
reminded to exclude from the verification selection pool those students who were approved by Direct
Certification. Additionally, when calculating the 3% sample that results in a fraction, always round to the
next higher whole number to determine total sample size. All verification activities must be
completed by November 15, 2008, and reported to this office by March 1, 2009. Please be aware
that the Verification Summary Report information is now collected on the “Verification Data
Collection Sheet”.
The verification regulations set forth in Parts 245.6a(a)(3) and 245.6a)b)(3) allow school food authorities
to verify food stamp and TANF applications solely by confirming that "each child for whom application
was made and a number provided, is a member of a currently certified food stamp household or TANF
assistance unit. If it is not established that the child is a member of a currently certified food stamp
household or TANF assistance unit, the procedures for adverse action specified in Section 245.6a(e)
shall be followed. The notification of termination of benefits provided to such households shall include a
request for household income information and for written evidence that confirms household income to
assist those households in establishing continued eligibility for free meal benefits." For income eligible
households, letters to households must request, in addition to other required information, the social
security number of each adult household member.
As a result of Reauthorization 2004, school officials verifying income eligibility for free or reduced price
meal benefits must allow households to provide documentation of income for any point in time
between the month prior to the application and the time the household is required to provide
income documentation. This provision is intended to support the current statutory change that
provides for full school year eligibility once an initial determination is made.
Please note that the date of completion for verification shall be on or before November 15, 2008. The
electronic file and one signed copy of the report are due in the Office of Child Nutrition on or before
March 1, 2009. A follow-up report of non-respondents who reapply for benefits is required. This
reporting requirement is based on follow-up activity occurring between November 15th and February 15st.
If you have questions or concerns regarding verification, please contact me at 304-558-2709 or via
email at
Richard J. Goff
Executive Director
Office of Child Nutrition