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Privacy Protection and Social Security Numbers


Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

Purpose: Policy, Action Required

To: Child Nutrition Program Sponsors

Number: USDA-CNP-02-2011

Attention: Food Service/Program Directors

Date: April 2011

Subject: Privacy Protection and the Use of Social Security Numbers

Reference: United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Policy Memo SP 19-2011; CACFP 09-2011; SFSP 06-2011

This Management Bulletin (MB) provides guidance regarding new federal law changes related to the collection of Social Security Numbers (SSNs) on free and reduced-price (F/RP) meal applications in all Child Nutrition Programs (CNPs).

On December 13, 2010, the Reauthorization legislation that governs all CNPs was signed into law. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (the Act), Public Law 111-296, has amended statutory requirements for collection of SSNs in all CNPs.

Section 301 of the Act amended section 9(d)(1) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act [42 U.S.C. 1758(d)(1)] by removing the requirement that the adult household member who signs a household application for F/RP meals must provide his or her complete SSN as a condition of eligibility. As amended by the Act, Section 9(d)(1) now requires an adult household member to provide only the last four digits of the SSN on the F/RP meal application. The Act also removes the requirement that the SSN of each household member be collected to verify applications. The new requirements increase privacy protection.

Although Section 301 of the Act became effective on October 1, 2010, the USDA will not require retroactive implementation of this policy. All household applications and supporting materials must be updated to reflect these requirements for School Year 2011-12 (July 1, 2011).

The United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service will provide updated prototype applications and supporting materials for all CNPs in the near future.

If you have any questions about this MB, please contact your local Child Nutrition Consultant (CNC). For contact information for your local CNC, please call 800-952-5609 or 916-324-9825.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, July 12, 2023
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