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Electronically Scanned and Stored Applications

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

To: School Nutrition Program Sponsors

Number: 02-124

Attention: Food Service Director

Date: September 2002

Subject: Electronically Scanned and Stored Applications for Free and Reduced-Price Meals

Reference: United States Department of Agriculture School Programs Policy Memo 02-03

This Management Bulletin provides guidance from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding the use of electronically-scanned and stored applications for free and reduced-price meals.

Sponsors may scan and store free and reduced-price meal applications if they:

  • Provide assurance that free and reduced-price meal applications are accurately scanned and maintained;
  • Develop a manual procedure to verify that all applications on file are successfully scanned;
  • Perform a manual edit check to verify that the scanning system makes accurate free and reduced-price determinations;
  • Establish and maintain access and security procedures to ensure confidentiality of all household information;
  • Maintain original meal applications, retrievable by site, for a minimum of three years after submission of the final Claim for Reimbursement for the fiscal year, or as required for review and/or audit resolution;
  • For schools on Provisions 1, 2, or 3, maintain the original meal applications for base year data and the period that the provision is in effect, plus three fiscal years after the sponsor submits the final Claim for Reimbursement, or longer if required for audit resolution;
  • Provide original meal applications upon request during the retention period (this may occur, for example, if the sponsor cannot operationally access the scanned versions of the meal applications in a timely manner);
  • Maintain computer backup files for the electronic meal application files;
  • Provide assurance that NSD reviewers will be able to complete all procedures during a CRE, including the review of 10 percent of those eligible on the benefit issuance documents when compared with meal applications and the review of denied meal applications; and
  • Provide assurance that state laws will not be violated.

Scanned information is allowable during the program review only if all of the above criteria are met. Original meal applications will be requested if the school cannot access the scanned versions in a timely manner or for any other appropriate reason.

Questions:   School Nutrition Programs Unit | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, February 23, 2016
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