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Exclusion of Military Combat Pay


Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin
Purpose: Policy, Beneficial Information

To: School Nutrition Program Sponsors, Child Care Agencies participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, Summer Food Service Program Sponsors

Number: USDA-CNP-04-2009

Attention: Food Service Director, Business Official, Food Program Director

Date: December 2009

Subject: Exclusion of Military Combat Pay from Income Eligibility in the Child Nutrition Programs

Reference: United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Policy Memo SP 06-2010; CACFP 03-2010; SFSP 04-2010; Public Law 111-80, October 21, 2009

This Management Bulletin (MB) provides information on a United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) policy change that excludes military combat pay from income eligibility determinations for the following:

  • Free and reduced-price meals in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs
  • Free and reduced-price meals for centers in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
  • Tier status determinations for family day care homes in the CACFP
  • Meals in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)
  • Free milk in the Special Milk Program

This exclusion is authorized by the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 (Public Law. 111-80; October 21, 2009) and may be accessed at the United States Government Printing Office Web page at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-111publ80/pdf/PLAW-111publ80.pdf.

This MB clarifies the new USDA policy exception change from Family Size and Income Determinations in the Child Nutrition Programs for Certain Military Families, dated March 12, 2003, located at the USDA School Meals Web page at http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/2003-02-27.pdf.

As set forth in the statute, combat pay is defined as an additional payment beyond the service members’ regular pay made under Chapter 5, Title 37 of the United States Code or as otherwise designated by the Secretary to be excluded, that is received by the household member who is deployed to a designated combat zone. Combat pay is therefore excluded if it is received:

  • In addition to the service member’s basic pay
  • As a result of the service member’s deployment to or service in an area that has been designated as a combat zone
  • After the service member is deployed to or service in the designated combat zone

A combat zone is any area that the President of the United States designates by Executive Order as an area in which the United States Armed Forces are engaging or have engaged in combat. As with other types of income commonly received by military personnel (such as the Basic Allowance for Housing or Basic Allowance for Subsistence payments), combat pay received by service members is normally reflected in the entitlements column of the military Leave and Earning Statement (LES). Information regarding deployment to or service in a combat zone may also be available through military orders or public records on deployment of military units. Deployed service members are considered members of the household for purposes of determining income eligibility for the Child Nutrition Programs, but only service members’ regular pay is included.

Local educational agencies should implement this income exclusion and notify school food authorities of this change immediately. This income exclusion will be added in the next update to the Eligibility Manual for School Meals.

If you have any questions regarding this MB, please contact your local Nutrition Services Division Field Services Child Nutrition Consultant at 916-445-0850 or 800-952-5609. You may also contact the appropriate Nutrition Services Division Specialists for your agency.

School Nutrition Programs (SNP): A contact list of SNP Specialists is available in the Download Forms section of the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS), Form ID Caseload SNP. You can also contact Lila Seastrom-Price, SNP Unit Office Technician, by phone at 916-322-1450 or by e-mail at lseastromprice@cde.ca.gov, to be directed to your SNP Specialist.

CACFP: A contact list of CACFP Specialists is available in the Download Forms section of the CNIPS, Form ID CACFP 01. You can also contact Nancy Charpentier, CACFP Unit Office Technician, by phone at 916-322-2771 or by e-mail at ncharpentier@cde.ca.gov, to be directed to your CACFP Specialist.

SFSP: A contact list of SFSP Specialists is available in the Download Forms section of the CNIPS, Form ID SFSP 01. You can also contact Larry Frakes, SFSP Office Technician, by phone at 916-322-8323 or by e-mail at lfrakes@cde.ca.gov, to be directed to your SFSP Specialist.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Monday, August 3, 2015

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