Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) are required to use the Electronic Direct Certification system in order to determine households that receive SNAP/TANF/income eligible Medicaid benefits or whom might be foster children, as such are automatically eligible for free meals. By determining households that are eligible for free meals through the Electronic Direct Certification System, an LEA would only provide household eligibility application packets to those households not found in that system. Please access the
Electronic Direct Certification system webpage for more information. Per USDA regulations, each year, at the beginning of the school year, informational letters must be distributed to the households of children attending the school. Such informational letters cannot be sent home at the end of the school year for the next year, nor can the LEA accept and process applications before the Federally defined school year of July 1 - June 30.
LEAs must distribute a Household Eligibility Application, instructions, and appropriate letter to all households that have not been directly certified. Application, instructions and letter cannot be distributed any earlier than July 1.
- Income Eligibility Guidelines