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Final Rule: Severe Need Assistance in the SBP

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin
Purpose: Policy

To: School Nutrition Program Sponsors

Number: USDA-SNP-24-2009

Attention: Food Service Director, Business Official

Date: December 2009

Subject: Final Rule: Severe Need Assistance in the School Breakfast Program

Reference: Federal Register/ Volume 74, Number 113, dated Monday, June 15, 2009, page 28154; Federal Register/ Volume 70, Number 211, dated Wednesday, November 2, 2005, pages 66247 through 66250
Supercedes: Information Sheet #3, 2004-05 Child Nutrition Programs Reauthorization Information, September 2004

This Management Bulletin (MB) provides the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Final Rule on the School Breakfast Program Severe Need Assistance. This Final Rule adopted the USDA’s November 2, 2005, Interim Rule without change. Details of the Interim Rule are provided in MB 05-123, January 2006, which can be downloaded from the California Department of Education’s Web page at

Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations Section 220.9(d) now reads:

The State agency, or Food and Nutrition Services Regional Office (FNSRO) where applicable, shall determine whether a school is in severe need based on the following eligibility criteria:

  1. The school is participating in or desiring to initiate a breakfast program.
  1. At least 40 percent of the lunches served to students at the school in the second preceding school year were served free or at a reduced price. Schools that did not serve lunches in the second preceding year that would like to receive reimbursement at the severe need rate may apply to their administering State agency. The administering State agency shall approve or deny such requests in accordance with guidance, issued by the Secretary, which determines that the second preceding school year requirement would otherwise have been met.

Examples of schools that do not have a two-year lunch participation history include:

  • Newly opened schools
  • Schools that served breakfast but not lunch
  • Schools that are new to the school nutrition programs
  • Schools that change their name with no change in location or student population
  • Schools that move to a new building with no changes in the student population
  • Schools where two or more severe need schools combine their entire student populations into one
  • Schools where two or more severe need schools combine a portion of their student population into one

The Nutrition Services Division (NSD) developed a worksheet for districts to use in calculating the data required to qualify new schools (that were formed from two or more schools moving a portion of their populations into the new school). This form will assist new schools in creating eligibility and participation data from the data at the existing schools. You can download this form, number SNP-08 “Severe Need Worksheet,” from your Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) account.

Additionally, new schools may demonstrate that they qualify for severe need reimbursement if they serve at least 40 percent of their lunches for free or at a reduced-price during the first three claims of the current year. Severe need reimbursements to these new schools will be approved retroactively to encompass the three months that were used to establish the school’s eligibility.

We are seeking additional guidance from the USDA on allowing the severe need rate of reimbursement in other situations and will issue additional information as it becomes available.

If you have any questions regarding this MB, please contact your School Nutrition Programs Specialist or your local NSD Field Services Child Nutrition Consultant at 916-445-0850 or 800-952-5609.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Monday, February 8, 2016
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