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Verification Process Guidance for SY 2021-22


This web post reminds school food authorities (SFA) to complete their School Year (SY) 2021–22 verification process by November 15, 2021 and the verification report by January 15, 2022.

For the 2021–22 SY, SFAs that collected household meal applications must complete the verification process. SFAs that collected alternate household income forms (AIF), do not need to complete verification on AIF.

All SFAs, regardless of meal application or AIF collection, are required to complete the verification report in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS)External link opens in new window or tab. by the due date.

Verification Process

Verification is the annual, mandatory process that confirms the eligibility of a sample of approved household meal eligibility applications in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, and the Seamless Summer Feeding Option for the 2021-22 SY. Each year, SFAs must select and verify a sample of applications approved for free and reduced-price (F/RP) meal benefits. The required sample size of applications that SFAs must verify is based on the number of approved applications the SFAs have on file on or before October 1. Each SFA must complete the verification process of the required sample size of meal applications by November 15. Please note that if meal applications were collected for Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT), SFAs are still required to complete the verification process.

For helpful resources in completing the verification process, such as The Verification Process training video, please visit the California Department of Education (CDE) Verification Materials web page.

The verification process must confirm:

  • The eligibility status of a student household’s monthly income, or
  • If any member of the household is participating in CalFresh, California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, or
  • That the applying student is Other Source Categorically Eligible

For further information on the verification process, please read the chapter on verification in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Eligibility Manual for School Meals on the USDA 2017 Edition of the Eligibility Manual for School Meals web pageExternal link opens in new window or tab..

Exceptions to the Verification Requirement

Verification efforts are not required:

  • For students who have been directly certified as eligible for F/RP meals, including students who are documented as eligible migrant, runaway, homeless, foster, or participating in Head Start or Even Start
  • For students in residential child care institutions (RCCI); however, SFAs must verify applications for any nonresidential students attending the RCCI’s school
  • In schools where all students are served with no separate meal charge, no eligibility determination is made, and no meal reimbursement is claimed (e.g., nonpricing programs claiming only the paid rate of reimbursement)
  • In schools participating in the Community Eligibility Provision
  • In schools participating in Provisions 1, 2, or 3, except in base years, when SFAs collect applications for all students in attendance
  • In schools participating in the Seamless Summer Feeding Option and only collected AIF
Verification Sample Size and other Reminders
  • With the exception of verification for cause (the process in which SFAs verify questionable applications), SFAs must not verify more or less than the standard sample size or the alternate sample size (when eligible) and must not verify all applications. SFAs can only use verification for cause in addition to verifying the required sample. Learn more about verification for cause on the CDE Verification for Cause in the School Meals Program web page.
Verification Report

All SFAs, regardless if meal application or AIF were collected, are required to submit an annual verification report (VR) to the CDE in CNIPSExternal link opens in new window or tab. by January 15. The CDE will notify SFAs by email when the report is available in the CNIPSExternal link opens in new window or tab.. For details on how to complete the VR in the CNIPSExternal link opens in new window or tab., visit the CDE Verification Reporting web page.

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact your School Nutrition Program (SNP) County Specialist. The SNP County Specialist list is available in the Download Forms section of CNIPSExternal link opens in new window or tab., Form ID Caseload. You can also contact the SNP Office Technicians, by phone at 916-322-3005 or 916-322-1450 to be directed to your SNP County Specialist.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, September 7, 2021
Related Content
  • SNP Verification Materials
    School Nutrition Programs verification materials including applications, forms, and materials for the annual, mandatory verification process for eligibility of a sample of completed household meal eligibility applications.
  • 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.
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