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Nutrition, Health and Safety Logo

Office for Food and Nutrition Programs

Extending Categorical Eligibility to Additional Children in the Household

To:Child Nutrition Program Directors
From:Kathleen C. Millett, Administrator, Nutrition, Health and Safety
Date:September 22, 2009

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According to a recent policy memo guidance from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), "beginning in School Year 2009-2010, for direct certification with SNAP, FDPIR or TANF and applications with case numbers for these programs, all children in the family as defined in 7 CFR 245.2, are categorically eligible for free meals. (A family is a group of related or nonrelated individuals, who are not residents of an institution or boarding house, but who are living as one economic unit.) The local educational agency (LEA) must extend eligibility for free meals to all children in what would be considered a family for the purposes of applying for free or reduced price meals or free milk.

If the LEA does not have an application as a reference, it may be able to use school district enrollment records to determine additional children who are part of a family who were not identified through direct certification. For households submitting applications with case numbers for some, but not all, of their children, the LEA must certify all children as categorically eligible for free meals or milk. Any income information on the application is disregarded. Furthermore, for purposes of carry-over into the new school year, categorical eligibility must be extended to newly enrolled siblings."

If you have any questions, please contact the Office for Nutrition, Health and Safety Programs at (781) 338-6494.



Last Updated: September 22, 2009
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