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CSFP Eligibility and Certification

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin
Purpose: Policy

To: Commodity Supplemental Food Program Local Agencies

Number: USDA-CSFP-02-2012

Attention: Commodity Supplemental Food Program Administrator

Date: February 2012

Subject: Eligibility and Certification for Participation in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program

Reference: Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 247.9

This Management Bulletin (MB) disseminates the eligibility and certification requirements for participating in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).

Recipient Categories

In order for an individual to participate in the CSFP, he or she must fall into one of the following population groups:

  • Pregnant, breast-feeding, or postpartum women (up to 12 months after termination of pregnancy)
  • Infants up to twelve months of age
  • Children age one through five years of age (up to their sixth birthday)
  • Persons age sixty years and older

Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR), Section 247.9 states that inclusion in these populations is established by the dates of confinement for pregnant and postpartum women and by birth dates for infants, children, and the elderly.

Certification Procedures

The authorized staff at the local agency determines the eligibility of CSFP participants. All certification data is recorded on the CSFP application form by local agency staff. Applicants must provide the following information:

  • Name and address
  • Household income (mothers, infants, and children receiving food stamp or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits are considered automatically eligible)
  • Household size
  • Other information related to eligibility, such as age or pregnancy

Note:  There is no automatic eligibility for seniors.

Income Verification

Income refers to total cash receipts before taxes. A participant’s eligibility should be based on the current month’s income and include everyone in the household. 7 CFR, Section 250.3 defines a household as a group of related or non-related individuals who are living together as one economic unit. All household members share economic resources and consumption of goods and/or services. The terms “economic unit” or “household size” can be used interchangeably. However, “economic unit” may be a more appropriate term to use because it conveys that familial relationship is not relevant to the determination of family size and income.

For eligibility purposes under 7 CFR, Section 247.9, the following are counted as income:

  • Wage and salaries before any deductions
  • Regular payments from Social Security, railroad retirement, unemployment compensation, strike benefits, veterans’ benefits, public assistance, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), training stipends, alimony, private pensions, government employee pensions, and regular insurance or annuity payments
  • Income from dividends, interest, rents, royalties, or periodic receipts from estates or trusts
  • Child support payments

For eligibility purposes, income does NOT include the following:

  • Capital gains
  • Any assets acquired through withdrawals from a bank account or the sale of property, house, or car
  • Tax refunds, gifts, lump-sum inheritance, one-time insurance payments, or compensation for injury
  • Medicare Part D deductions
  • Food or rent received in lieu of wages
Age Verification

Infants and/or children’s proof of age should be established by birth certificates. If birth certificates are not available, church, school, or medical records are acceptable. In the senior program, proof of age may also be established by a driver’s license, family records, Social Security or Civil Service award letters, and Medicaid or Medicare cards.

Residency Requirements

Since the CSFP local agencies only service California counties, participation in the CSFP is for California residents only. Residence is established by recent utility bills, driver’s license or state identification card, or Medicaid or Medicare cards.

If you have any questions regarding this MB, please contact Irene Boubalos, Program Consultant, California Department of Social Services, by phone at 916‑229-3343 or by e-mail at

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, May 24, 2017
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