COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P.O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO NO. 5
May 6, 2005
Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Changes in the Free and Reduced Price Eligibility Determination Process for the School Nutrition Programs Reauthorization 2004
The Child Nutrition and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Reauthorization Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-265), amended sections of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA) affecting the eligibility determination process for free and reduced price benefits under the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and the Special Milk Program. The following are changes affecting the free and reduced price eligibility process that were either effective upon enactment of the law, or will be effective July 1, 2005.
Effective July 1, 2005, school divisions are required to use a household application to determine eligibility for free or reduced price meals in the school nutrition programs. The application must provide the opportunity for the household to list the names of all children for whom application is being made. The school division is prohibited from requiring a separate application for each child attending school in the same school division.
Eligibility for Homeless, Migrant, and Runaway Youth
Categorical eligibility for free meals was extended to students who meet the federal definition of homeless, migrant, or runaway. All students meeting the definition may become automatically eligible upon certification by the homeless liaison or migrant education program coordinator. Documentation of certification must be provided to the approving official. Please see Regulatory Superintendents Memorandum #8, dated September 24, 2004, for documentation requirements.
The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) paid to military personnel for privatized housing on certain military bases has been excluded from income used to determine eligibility for free or reduced price meals. In Virginia, the following are the military bases that currently provide privatized housing: Marine Corps Base Quantico, Fort Belvoir, Fort Eustis, and Fort Story. Navy housing at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren and Hampton Roads Housing in Norfolk will become privatized in July 2005.
Duration of Households Free and Reduced Price Meal Eligibility Determination
Once approved for free or reduced price meal benefits during a school year, a household will remain eligible for those benefits for the entire school year. Households are no longer required to report changes in circumstances such as an increase in income, a decrease in household size, or when the household is no longer eligible for food stamps or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). This provision applies to students approved by direct certification as well as by application.
Prototype Application, Letters, and Related Materials
The prototype application, letters, and related materials will be updated to incorporate the above changes. Revised prototype forms will be posted in the Annual Agreement, Online Forms section of the School Nutrition Program Web System (SNPWeb) beginning the week of May 16, 2005.
Questions regarding these regulatory changes may be addressed to Lynne Fellin, acting director, or the assigned school nutrition programs specialist at (804) 225-2074.