|The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-265) amended the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to require direct certification. Each local educational agency (LEA) must directly certify children who are members of households receiving assistance under one of the following programs as eligible for free school meals, without further application, based on information provided in an electronic data file from the Department of Human Services (DHS):
Data from DHS are matched with student enrollment data as reported by school districts in the MSDS. Matched students will be automatically eligible for free school meals and listed on the Direct Certification Student Status report. Each LEA must then notify these households that the children, as directly certified, are eligible for free benefits and no further application is necessary. These children remain directly certified for the remainder of the school year, even if a change in economic status occurs. For more information on federal regulations regarding Direct Certification, please refer to the Eligibility Manual for School Meals.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Benefits can be extended to other children in the same household.
- Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). Benefits can be extended to other children in the same household.
- Foster Child program. Benefits cannot be extended to other children in the same household.