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Amendment to Sharing of Meal Applications

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

Purpose: Policy, Beneficial Information

To: School Nutrition Program Sponsors

Attention: Food Service Directors

Number: SNP-18-2014

Date: August 2014

Reference: Management Bulletin 03-115, Assembly Bill 422, California Education Code Section 49557.2

Subject: Amendment to Sharing of Meal Applications for Medi-Cal

This Management Bulletin (MB) provides information regarding the implementation of Assembly Bill 422, which amended California Education Code (EC) Section 49557.2 and went into effect January 1, 2014.


The California Department of Education (CDE) released MB 03-115 in July 2003 to provide information to school food authorities (local educational agencies [LEA] participating in federal school meal programs) regarding the initial amendment to EC Section 49557.2. The MB states that effective July 1, 2003, school districts and county superintendents of schools may voluntarily implement a process to share a child’s National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Application for Free and Reduced-price Meals with the Medi-Cal Program. This information sharing accelerates Medi-Cal eligibility determinations for students eligible for free meals. It also allows the county agency to send an application for the Healthy Families Program to students determined to be eligible for free meals, but ineligible for Medi-Cal. Please note that effective December 1, 2013, the Healthy Families Program no longer exists. Between January 2013 and November 2013, the children in the Healthy Families Program were transitioned to the Optional Targeted Low Income Children’s Program or other Medi-Cal programs.

What Local Educational Agencies Need to Do 

Effective January 1, 2014, the amendment to EC Section 49557.2 requires LEAs that voluntarily participate in the sharing of eligibility information with Medi-Cal to include the following information with the school meal program application packet that LEAs distribute to families or in notifications of eligibility for the NSLP:

  • Advise the family that the student may be eligible for reduced-cost comprehensive health care coverage through the California Health Benefit Exchange

  • Advise that, if the applicant family is low income, the student may be eligible for no-cost health care coverage through Medi-Cal

  • Provide the applicant with the contact information for the California Health Benefit Exchange, including the website address and phone number

  • Include information regarding compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Title 42, U.S. Code Section 12101, et seq.) and any other applicable federal or state disability access law

According to EC Section 48980, eligibility notifications can also be included with the school meal program application packet or in NSLP eligibility notifications issued by LEAs to households at the start of the regular school term.

Any school meal program application received by a county Medi-Cal office will be treated as an application for health insurance affordability programs for students who are not already enrolled in a health insurance affordability program. The date that the meal application is received by the county Medi-Cal office will be considered the date of application for Medi-Cal.

Additional Information

For more information on Medi-Cal and Covered California eligibility, please visit the Department of Health Care Services Frequently Asked Questions web page at or submit your Medi-Cal eligibility questions by email to

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact Gina Stahlecker, School Nutrition Programs Specialist, by phone at 916-322-8315 or by email at

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Friday, August 6, 2021
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