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Adult Care Participant Eligibility Determination

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Eligibility Determination for Adult Day Care (ADC) centers online course.

Welcome to the California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division (NSD) CACFP Adult Care Participant Eligibility Determination online course.

Course Description

This online course explains how to determine and document the eligibility of participants enrolled in CACFP ADC centers. Eligibility documentation allows ADC centers to determine how many of the enrolled participants are eligible for free, reduced-price, or base meal reimbursement through the federal CACFP.

Table of Contents

Instructions

  1. Read the Adult Care Participant Eligibility Determination for ADC centers online course located below.

  2. After reading the course content, you will:

    • Answer the Course Assessment questions related to the course content,

    • Print a certificate of completion, and 

    • Notify the CDE NSD that you have completed the Adult Care Participant Eligibility Determination for ADC centers online course.

A link to the Course Assessment and additional details are provided in the Course Assessment Instructions section at the end of this course.  

Training Objectives

The training objectives of this online course are for current and prospective CACFP Operators to:

  1. Understand the eligibility and enrollment requirements for adults participating in the CACFP.

  2. Learn how to properly document eligibility of enrolled participants.

  3. Distinguish between the different eligibility categories.

  4. Learn how to create an eligibility roster.

Participant Eligibility

An enrolled adult is considered eligible to participate in the CACFP if the adult is:

  • Enrolled in an ADC center to receive day care services

  • Functionally impaired or over age 60

  • Resides in:

    • Their own home alone or with a spouse, children, or guardian

    • The home of a family member or guardian

    • A board-and-care home

    • An intermediate care facility (ICF)/developmentally disabled-habilitative facility (facility that provides health services to developmentally disabled persons who have recurring needs for nursing services, but have been certified by a physician and surgeon as not requiring availability of continuous skilled nursing care)

Note: Adults residing in an ICF/developmentally disabled-nursing facility or a skilled nursing facility (facility that provides personal care, developmental services, and nursing supervision for developmentally disabled persons who have recurring needs for skilled nursing care) or a skilled nursing facility are not eligible to participate in the CACFP.

Functionally impaired adults are defined as chronically impaired disabled persons eighteen years of age or older. This includes people who are physically or mentally impaired to the extent that their capacity for independence and their ability to carry out activities of daily living is markedly limited. A plan of care must be on file for each functionally impaired enrolled adult.

An individual plan of care is a written plan of service based on the evaluation of an individual’s health and social needs. It must include the:

  • Goals and objectives of the planned care
  • Activities to achieve the goals and objectives
  • Recommendations for therapy
  • Referrals to and follow-up with other service providers, as needed
  • Provisions for periodic review and renewal

Enrollment Requirements

Adult participants must submit documentation that indicates they are enrolled to receive day care at an agency. This documentation must be signed and dated by the adult participant or, if they are unable to sign due to a disability, an adult household member.

ADC centers must collect and maintain documentation of the enrollment for each CACFP-eligible adult. Enrollment documents for adults enrolled in ADC centers are valid from the time they are signed by the adult or adult household member and are valid as long as the adult participant is enrolled for care.

Per Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, sections 226.15(e), an adult's enrollment documentation must:

  • Record the age of each participant

  • Show that each participant under the age of 60 meets the functional impairment eligibility requirements

  • Record whether a participant resides in their own home or in a group living arrangement

CACFP Eligibility Category Overview

The following two methods are used to determine an adult’s eligibility category:

  1. Categorical eligibility–Adults enrolled in a center are categorically eligible in the free category if he or she receives any of the following benefits:

    • CalFresh (federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP])

    • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)

    • Medicaid/Medi-Cal

    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

  2. Income eligibility–Adults enrolled in a center are income eligible in the free or reduced-price category if their household size and income are within the USDA Income Eligibility Guidelines

A current, complete, and certified MBF is required for each adult participant, and is utilized to capture the necessary information to determine which eligibility category (free, reduced-price, or base) an adult can be claimed at. Individual eligibility information must be collected once per year for each adult claimed in the free or reduced-price eligibility category. Additional information on eligibility categories is described below.

Meal Benefit Forms

An MBF must be completed and certified for any participant whose meals or snacks are claimed at free or reduced-price (F/RP) rate. The MBF, along with a Letter to Households that explains the purpose of the MBF, should be distributed to the adult participant or adult household member. The MBF and Letter to Households are located in the Download Forms section of the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS), Form ID CACFP 52, Adult Meal Benefit Form; and Form ID CACFP 53, Adult Letter to Households.

The adult participant or adult household member is not required to complete the MBF. However, if they do not complete an MBF, the meals and snacks served to the adult participant must be claimed at the base rate. Also, if any of the required information is missing from the MBF, the center must claim the participant at the base rate.

Before distributing the MBF, the center staff should fill in the following information at the top of the form:

  • Current program year

  • Name of the ADC center

  • Phone number to call to receive help in filling out the form

  • Name of the place and person at the ADC center to whom the completed form should be returned

An ADC center may determine a participant to be eligible for F/RP meals according to one of two methods: categorical eligibility or income eligibility.

Eligibility Categories

Categorical Eligibility for Free Meal Reimbursement

An adult participant is categorically eligible for free meal benefits if they receive any one of the following:

  • CalFresh benefits
  • FDPIR benefits
  • Medicaid/Medi-Cal
  • SSI

The adult participant is also categorically eligible for free meal benefits if any member of their household receives CalFresh or FDPIR benefits. An ADC household is defined as the adult participant, the spouse, and any dependents that reside with the adult participant. Functionally impaired adults living with their parents are considered a family separate from their parents for the purpose of determining family size and income. The adult MBF for a categorically eligible adult must contain the following information:

  • Name of the participant

  • Case number for CalFresh, FDPIR, SSI, or Medicaid/Medi-Cal

  • Signature of the participant/adult household member

  • Date of signature

  • Racial/Ethnic Identity—the person filling out the form does not have to complete this section. If they choose to complete this part, the race and ethnicity of the enrolled participant should be marked. If the participant/adult household member declines to provide the information, the agency staff will complete this section based on visual identification or personal knowledge. In this case, the staff will record the information and inform the participant that it has been recorded

Household income and the last four digits of the participant’s Social Security number (SSN) are not required for categorically eligible participants.

The MBF for categorically eligible participants must also contain the center’s certification in the For Agency Use Only section, which consists of the following:

  • Certification that the participant is 60 years of age or older, or that the participant meets the functional impairment eligibility requirements

  • The participant’s type of residence

  • The type of categorical eligibility status the participant has: CalFresh, FDPIR, Medi-Cal, or SSI eligibility

  • Certification of eligibility status: free, reduced-price, or base

  • Signature of the eligibility official

  • Certification date for eligibility

The California Department of Education (CDE) no longer accepts alternative documentation for categorical determinations. All participants claimed at the free or reduced-price rate must have a valid MBF on file. For further information, please see CDE Management Bulletin (MB) CACFP-02-2016: Participant Eligibility Record for Adult Day Care on the CDE CACFP Bulletins web page.

Income Eligibility

A participant is income-eligible for meals reimbursed at the F/RP rate if the individual’s household size and income, as stated on the MBF, are within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Income Eligibility Guidelines (IEG), which are updated on July 1 of every year. An ADC household is defined as the adult participant, the spouse, and any dependents that reside with the adult participant. Functionally impaired adults living with their parents are considered a family separate from their parents for the purpose of determining family size and income. The current USDA IEG are on the CDE Rates, Eligibility Scales, & Funding web page.

A complete MBF for income eligible participants must contain the following household information:

  • Participant’s name

  • Names of the household members, including dependent children, and their sources and frequency of income, if applicable. If a household member does not have income, indicate $0 or no income

  • The last four digits of the SSN of the adult household member completing the MBF or, if applicable, the box Check here if no SSN should be checked

  • Signature of the participant/adult household member and date of signature

  • Racial/Ethnic Identity—the person filling out the form does not have to complete this section. If they choose to complete this section, the race and ethnicity of the enrolled participant should be marked. If the participant/adult household member declines to provide the information, the agency staff will complete this section based on visual identification or personal knowledge. In this case, the staff will record the information and inform the participant that it has been recorded

The MBF for income-eligible participants must also contain the center’s certification in the For Agency Use Only section, which consists of the following:

  • Certification that the participant is 60 years of age or older, or that the participant meets the functional impairment eligibility requirements

  • The participant’s type of residence

  • Total household income—if the household reports sources of income with different pay frequencies (for example, weekly and monthly), all of the incomes must to be converted to annual income. To convert:

    • A weekly income to annual income: Multiple the weekly income by 52. For example, if a person receives $250 per week, the annual income is $250 multiplied by 52, which equals $13,000

    • An income received every two weeks to annual income: Multiply the income received every two weeks by 26. For example, if a person receives $500 every two weeks, the annual income is $500 multiplied by 26, which equals $13,000

    • An income received twice a month to annual income: Multiply the income received twice a month by 24. For example, if a person receives $500 twice a month, the annual income is $500 multiplied by 24, which equals $12,000

    • A monthly income to annual income: Multiply the monthly income by 12. For example, if a person receives $1,200 monthly, the annual income is $1,200 multiplied by 12, which equals $14,400

  • Certification of eligibility status: free, reduced-price, or base

  • Signature of the eligibility official

  • Certification date for eligibility

If any of the required information is missing from the MBF, or if the household does not submit an MBF, the participant must be claimed at the base rate.

What Is Considered Income?

The following must be reported as income on the MBF:

  • Earnings from Work

    • Wages, salaries, or tips
    • Strike benefits
    • Unemployment compensation
    • Worker’s compensation
    • Net income from self-employment

  • Child Support or Alimony

    • Public assistance payments
    • Alimony or child support payments

  • Pensions, Retirement, or Social Security

    • Pensions
    • SSI
    • Retirement income
    • Veteran’s payments
    • Social Security

  • Other Monthly Income

    • Disability benefits
    • Cash withdrawn from savings
    • Interest dividends
    • Income from estates, trusts, or investments
    • Regular contributions from persons not living in the household
    • Net royalties, annuities, or net rental income
    • Military allowance for off-base housing
    • Any other income

Participant Eligibility Determinations and Duration

Effective Date

For ADC centers, the eligibility effective date may either be:

  • the date the participant/adult household member signs the MBF; or

  • the date the MBF was certified by an agency official.

If an ADC center uses the participant/adult household member signature date, this date must be within the month of certification or the immediately preceding month, otherwise the effective date must be the date of certification. For example, if a participant signs an MBF on February 1, and the agency completes certification on April 1, the effective date must be April 1.

For more information on MBF effective dates, please see CDE MB CACFP-01-2015; SFSP-01-2015: Guidance on Income Eligibility Determinations and Duration on the CDE CACFP Bulletins web page.

Duration

MBFs are valid until the last day of the calendar month in which they were originally dated one year earlier. For example, an MBF that was certified by an agency official on October 10, 2019, is valid from October 1, 2019, to October 31, 2020. A household is not required to report an increase in income, a decrease in household size, or ineligibility for benefits during the calendar year.

Participants that Decline the Child and Adult Care Food Program

If enrolled adults do not wish to participate in the CACFP, it is only a best practice for the ADC center to obtain a Declining Participation in the CACFP form, Form ID CACFP 11, which is located in the Download Forms section of the CNIPS. These eligibly enrolled adults must still be included on the eligibility roster and, if using the fixed percentage claiming method, in the fixed percentage calculation. In the calculation, the declining participants would be in the base reimbursement category unless they have valid MBFs that qualify them for free or reduced-price meals.

Adult Day Care Center Eligibility Roster

After an ADC center has determined the enrolled adults that can participate in the CACFP, and the reimbursement eligibility for each, the center staff must create a roster. A sample adult eligibility roster, Form ID CACFP 44, Adult Eligibility Roster can be found in the Download Forms section of the CNIPS.

The eligibility roster must include:

  • The month and year the roster was created

  • Each enrolled adult’s name and eligibility information

    • If the enrolled adult is eligible to participate in the CACFP, the certified reimbursement category (free, reduced-price, or base)

    • If the enrolled adult is not eligible to participate, a reason indicating why they were not eligible (for example, under the age of 60 with no plan of care)

  • The total number of adult participants in each reimbursement category

  • The total number of enrolled adults at the site

Centers using the fixed percentage claiming method must develop a roster each October and for any other months in which the enrollment, eligibility, or both are updated on the claim for reimbursement. Centers using the actual count claiming method must develop a roster each month.

All for-profit agencies, regardless of claiming method, must develop a roster for each site for every month they submit a claim. For more information on claiming methods and eligibility roster requirements, refer to Section 5.1 of the CACFP Administrative Manual on the CDE CACFP Administrative Manual web page.


This concludes the reading portion of the Adult Care Participant Eligibility Determination for ADCs online course. Please follow the instructions below to obtain a certificate of completion and notify the CDE that you have completed the course.

Course Assessment Instructions

  1. Open the Course Assessment. You will be prompted to enter your contact information, answer assessment questions related to the course content, and print a certificate of completion.

  2. After printing a certificate of completion and before exiting the Course Assessment, you must select Submit to notify the CDE that you have completed this course.

Note: If you do not select Submit on the final page of the Course Assessment, you will need to once again select the Course Assessment link in Step 1, reenter your contact information, complete the course assessment, and select Submit to notify the CDE that you have completed this course. 

Questions:   Child and Adult Care Food Program Unit | CACFP@cde.ca.gov
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, August 11, 2020
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