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Meal Eligibility for Certain Military Families

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

To: Child Nutrition Programs Sponsors

Number: 03-111,  03-206,  03-704

Attention: Food Service Director

Date: April 2003

Subject: POLICY EXCEPTION - Family Size and Income Determinations in the Child Nutrition Programs for Certain Military Families

Reference: United States Department of Education (USDA) All Points Bulletins Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) 02-06, SP 02-08, Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) 02-05; CACFP 03-03, SP 03-03, SFSP 03-02; and CACFP 03-05, SP 03-04, SFSP 03-03; USDA Eligibility Guidance for School Meals Manual pages 32-33; Management Bulletin 02-105,02-203, and 02-708

This Management Bulletin announces an exception to the child nutrition policy for determining household size and income for military households.

In May 2002, we informed all child nutrition programs sponsors that military service personnel should not be included in determinations of household size and income for meal eligibility (Management Bulletins 02-105, 02-203, and 02-708). However, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that for the duration of Operation Enduring Freedom, deployed household members will be included and counted as household members for the determinations of free or reduced price meal eligibility. In addition, only that portion of the deployed service members’ income made available by them or on their behalf to the household will be counted as income to the household.

The USDA’s standard policy regarding determining household size and income for military personnel is as follows:

  • Household members who are temporarily absent are considered household members, and their income is included with other household income when making an eligibility determination.
  • Household members who are not living with the household for an extended period of time or who are living overseas are not included as members of the household for eligibility purposes, and only that portion of their income made available to the household by them or on their behalf is counted as income to the household.

Deployment of a parent or guardian may also affect the eligibility of a child, who temporarily resides with a day care home provider, to receive meals in the Child and Adult Care Food Program. Although the child may live with the provider while the service member is deployed, the child is not considered a "provider’s own" child. In this special situation, the child would continue to participate in the meal service as a nonresidential participant. To claim reimbursement for program meals, the day care home provider must have power of attorney, custody, or an agreement established by the military to provide residential care to the child. This applies to Operation Enduring Freedom and possible future military contingencies.

Questions:   School Nutrition Programs Unit | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Monday, March 7, 2016
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