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Establishing Eligibility for Free Meals


Nutrition Services Division

To: All Child Nutrition Program Sponsors, County Superintendents of Schools, Diocesan Superintendents of Schools

Number: 00-110,  00-210,  00-708

Attention: Food Service Directors

Date: October 2000

Subject: Establishing Eligibility for Free Meals

Reference: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) All Points Bulletin (APB): CNP-00-10

This Management Bulletin provides clarification regarding the use of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Food Stamp Program case numbers to establish eligibility for free meals in all child nutrition programs.

Definition of Terms:

All Points Bulletin (ABP) CNP-00-10 states that CalWORKs/TANF or food stamp case numbers may be used to establish a child's eligibility for free meals in child nutrition programs. The State of California, through the CalWORKs program, determines the nature and extent of benefits under the TANF program. If a child receives CalWORKs benefits or resides in a household that receives food stamp benefits, the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service considers the child categorically eligible for free meals. Placement of the proper food stamp or CalWORKs case number on the free and reduced price meal application allows an automatic determination of eligibility for free meal benefits. You should check with your local welfare office to determine the appropriate food stamp and CalWORKs case number formats. Any number provided on the application for free and reduced price meals that does not meet this designated format for your area should be questioned.

The EBT card is not considered as proof of eligibility for food stamp benefits. The EBT card does not reflect the current food stamp eligibility status of the recipient. Also, the person who has possession of the EBT card may be acting on behalf of the food stamp recipient and may not be eligible for food stamp benefits themselves.

Questions:   School Nutrition Programs Unit | 800-952-5609
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