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Use of Other Programs' Eligibility Information

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

To: Summer Food Service Program Sponsors

Number: 98-712

From: Summer Food Service Program Unit

Date: June 1998

Attention: Authorized Representatives

Subject: Use of Other Programs’ Eligibility Information

Reference: APB: SFS-98-08; SA- 9-3 GEN

This Management Bulletin disseminates the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) policy regarding the use of program eligibility information collected by schools, government entities, or private nonprofit organizations who sponsor the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

The information collected by a School Food Authority (SFA) for participation in the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program, including direct certification information, may be used to establish eligibility of children participating at enrolled SFSP sites sponsored by the same SFA.

Government entities or private nonprofit organizations that have access to family size and income data from other assistance programs they administer may use this same family size and income information to establish the eligibility of children at their enrolled SFSP sites. However, the definitions of income, household size, and income scales used in the other assistance programs they administer must be comparable to, or more restrictive than, the income eligibility guidelines in effect in the Child Nutrition Programs. The household size and income information must have been obtained from the parents or guardians, and a copy must be maintained on file.

Sponsors with access to information meeting the above criteria do not need to collect separate eligibility applications for participants at their enrolled SFSP sites. Any information used to establish eligibility at SFSP sites must be readily accessible for SFSP reviewers.

Sponsors must take every precaution to protect the confidentiality of income information submitted by families. Information obtained for Child Nutrition Programs shall not be shared with any person outside the organization for the purpose of establishing the child’s eligibility for any means-tested benefit, except with the express written permission of the child’s parent or guardian.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
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