Sneak Preview: FNS To Use Medicaid Data in School Meal Projects

May 18, 2012 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

(The following was excerpted from an article in the Federal Grants Management Handbook.) The Food and Nutrition Service is sponsoring demonstration projects in six states aimed at enabling low-income children to directly receive free school meals based on Medicaid information.

“By relying on existing data, we streamline operations, reduce payment errors and improve the efficiency of operations at the federal and local level,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “At the same time, we are ensuring that we deliver healthy meals to more eligible kids so that they have access to the nutrition they need to learn and excel.”

Alaska, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, New York and Pennsylvania will launch their projects on July 1 for the 2012-2013 school year. Kentucky and Pennsylvania will conduct statewide projects while the others will do so in select locations.

The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-246) enabled state and local educational agencies (LEAs) to directly certify children for free school meals. Under direct certification, children are determined eligible for free school meals without the need for household applications by using data from other “means-tested programs.” Such programs provide benefits to those whose income and financial resources meet certain requirements, such as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Supplemental Security Income programs.


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