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Verification Reporting

Instructions for local education agencies (LEAs) on submitting the verification collection report through the Child Nutrition and Information Payment System (CNIPS) using the verification report function.

The verification report is an annual, mandatory process by which school food authorities (SFA) report the results of their eligibility verification process. All agencies that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP) are required to complete the verification report, including those that are exempt from the eligibility verification process. The report requires NSLP and SBP participating districts/agencies to report the verification results of their annual free and reduced-price (F/RP) application process to the California Department of Education (CDE).

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA), Public Law 111-296, amended NSLP and CalFresh (also referred to as SNAP) regulations to provide for the collection of data elements needed to compute each state’s direct certification performance rate. The HHFKA required state’s to count the number of children who are members of households receiving benefits under CalFresh and who were directly certified for free meals as of the last operating day in October. Therefore, program operators are required to separately report the students directly certified through CalFresh on their annual verification collection report.

The CDE reports consolidated verification results for all SFAs on the NSLP and/or SBP to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Due Dates

The verification process must begin October 1 and be completed by November 15 each year. The verification report is due to the CDE by January 15. The CDE will send notification to all SFAs when the report is available in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS).

Accessing the Report

  • Access the CNIPS Web site External link opens in new window or tab.
  • In the boxes provided, enter your User ID and Password and select Log On
  • Select Applications from the blue tool bar at the top of your screen
  • Select Verification Report
  • Follow the Verification Report Instructions below and complete the report
  • Select Save—NOTE: you will not receive a confirmation message
  • If the message "Saved with Errors" is displayed:
    • Select Edit, make the corrections
    • Select Save
    • Select Finish—you will not receive a confirmation message

Training Video

  • Verification Reporting
    • In this video, participants will learn how to complete the verification process in the CNIPS.

Completing the Report

Detailed instructions for completing each section of the Verification Report are provided below.

Section 1

All SFAs must complete Section 1. Report the number of schools/institutions and students as of the last operating day of October. Residential Child Care Institutions (RCCI) will report their institutions based on whether or not they contain day students.

Section 2

Only SFAs that operate special provisions (i.e., Provision 2, 3, Community Eligibility Provision [CEP], etc.) will complete this section. Report the number of schools/institutions and students as of the last operating day of October.

Provision schools will enter the following information in the CNIPS verification report:

  • 2-1: Schools or institutions that are in a base year for Provision 2/3 on both NSLP and SBP must complete this section.

  • 2-2: Schools or institutions that are in a nonbase year for Provision 2/3 on both NSLP and SBP must complete this section.

    • 2-2a: Schools or institutions that are in a nonbase year for Provision 2/3 on both NSLP and SBP must complete this section. Enter the number of students reported as free in a nonbase year.
    • 2-2b: Schools or institutions that are in a nonbase year for Provision 2/3 on both NSLP and SBP must complete this section. Enter the number of students reported as reduced-price in a nonbase year.

  • 2-3: Schools and institutions that are operating the CEP must complete this section.

  • 2-4: Schools operating Provision 1 for both NSLP and SBP must complete this section.

  • 2-5: Schools operating Provisions 1, 2, or 3 for only NSLP or only SBP must complete this section.
Section 3

All SFAs that conduct direct certification (DC) must complete this section. The USDA requires SFAs to conduct DC a minimum of three times per school year, with few exceptions (e.g., RCCIs that have no day students or SFAs in a nonbase year for all schools). Essentially, if the SFA collects applications, the SFA must also conduct DC.

In this section, the SFA will report their DC numbers as of the last operating day of October. Program operators are required to separately report the number of students directly certified through CalFresh.

The following information will need to be entered in the CNIPS verification report:

  • 3-1: Only those SFAs exempt from conducting DC will check this box. Again, all SFAs are required to conduct DC, with few exceptions.

  • 3-2: Report all students directly certified through CalFresh as of the last operating day of October. Do not include those students certified through the CalFresh letter method (family brings in a letter from the CalFresh office to qualify their children for free meal benefits). If a student's family receives both CalFresh and California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) benefits, the SFA must report all students in the same household as recipients of CalFresh only.

  • 3-3: Report all students directly certified through other programs, including:

    • CalWORKs
    • Medi-Cal (Free only)
    • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
    • Homeless
    • Migrant
    • Runaway
    • Foster
    • Head Start/Even Start
    • Nonapplicants, but approved by local officials

  • 3-4: Report all students certified through the CalFresh letter method (family brings in a letter from the CalFresh office to qualify their children for free meal benefits).

  • MP-1: Report all students directly certified for free meals through Medi-Cal and the number of household members who received free meal benefits due to Medi-Cal benefit extension. This number is also included in the total for item 3-3.

  • MP-2: Report all students directly certified for reduced-price meals through Medi-Cal and the number of household members who received reduced-price meal benefits due to Medi-Cal benefit extension. This number should not be included in any other totals in Section 3.
Section 4

All SFAs collecting F/RP applications must report in Section 4. Note: the number of applications is as of October 1. The number of students is as of the last operating day of October. For example, you might report 100 applications approved as of October 1. As of the last operating day of October, you might report 300 students approved for meal benefits.

The following information will need to be entered in the CNIPS verification report:

  • 4-1: Categorically approved for free meals based on a case number on the F/RP application.

    • Report the number of applications as of October 1.
    • Report the number of students as of the last operating day of October.

  • 4-2: Approved for free meals based on household size and income information.

    • Report the number of applications as of October 1.
    • Report the number of students as of the last operating day of October.

  • 4-3: Approved for reduced-price meals based on household size and income information.

    • Report the number of applications as of October 1.
    • Report the number of students as of the last operating day of October.

Please note that the number of applications and students in each category for Section 4 are likely going to be different numbers. The number of students should be (with few exceptions) higher than the number of applications. This is because SFAs must use household applications, and families usually have more than one child. For example, while you might have 50 approved household applications, those applications will contain 125 students because each family has multiple children.

Section 5

All SFAs that conducted the verification process must complete Section 5. The following information will need to be entered in the CNIPS verification report:

  • 5-1: If the SFA was exempt from conducting the verification process (e.g., an RCCI with no day students or an SFA with all schools in a nonbase year for Provision 2), check this box.

  • 5-2: Indicate whether the verification process was completed on time.

    • If the process was not completed on time or not completed at all, please provide an explanation.

  • 5-3: Indicate the type of verification sample size used.

    • With few exceptions, the sample size used by most SFAs will be standard.
    • Alternate one and alternate two are special sample sizes, and SFAs must meet special conditions each year to qualify. Qualifying for an alternate sample size in the past does not mean that the SFA qualifies for the current year.

  • 5-4: Report the total number of error prone applications. Error prone applications are those approved applications that are within $100 of the monthly benefit level or $1,200 of the annual benefit level. For example, if a family of two would need to make no more than $20,000 a year to qualify for benefits, and they reported on their household application that they earn $18,850 a year, then the application would be error prone because it is within $1,200 of the benefit level (only $1,150 from the $20,000 limit). It is a best practice to flag all such applications when conducting the eligibility process at the beginning of the year.

  • 5-5: Indicate the number of applications selected for the verification sample. This should adhere to the sample size that you selected in 5-3 and be based off of the number of applications recorded in Section 4.

  • 5-6: Indicate whether the SFA conducted direct verification (not to be confused with DC).

    • Direct verification is a process through which the SFA selects a categorically approved application as part of its sample size and instead of contacting the family, instead contacts the local county social services office to confirm the family's participation in the categorically eligible program (e.g., confirming that the family participates in CalFresh). This process is not required.

  • 5-7: If the SFA conducted direct verification, indicate how many applications and students were verified through this process.

  • 5-8: Indicate the results of the verification process. Do not include students/applications that were already reported in 5-7.

  • VC-1: If the SFA verified any applications for cause (not part of the verification sample size) by November 15, record the number here.

Questions and Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact your School Nutrition Programs (SNP) County Specialist. The SNP County Specialist list is available in the CNIPS Download Forms section, titled as Caseload SNP. You may also contact an SNP Office Technician by phone at 916-322-1450, 916-322-3005, or 800-952-5609, Option 2, to be directed to your SNP County Specialist.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, July 17, 2019
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