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Verification Process Guidance for SY 2022–23


This information is to remind school food authorities (SFA) to complete their School Year (SY) 2022–23 verification process by November 15, 2022.

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. Each year, School Food Authorities 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 as of October 1. If October 1 falls on a weekend, SFAs will use the next operating day to establish the sample pool. Each SFA must complete the verification process of the required sample size of meal applications by November 15.

Please note that SFAs operating Universal Meals must still complete the verification process if they are using standard meal counting and claiming procedures.

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.

For SFAs operating Universal Meals, verification letter templates are located in the Download Forms section of the California Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS), Form IDs Verification – 01, 02, and 03. These templates notify households that, regardless of the result of the verification process, all students will still have access to free meals at their school.

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 page External 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 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

Verification Sample Size and other Reminders

Verification Report

SFAs must submit their annual verification report (VR) to the CDE in CNIPS by January 17. The CDE will notify SFAs by email when the report is available in the CNIPS. For details on how to complete the VR in the CNIPS visit the CDE Verification Reporting web page.

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact your School Nutrition Programs (SNP) County Specialist. A current list of SNP Specialists is available on the SNP Specialist Directory web page. You can also contact the SNP Office Technician by phone at 916-322-3005.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Friday, September 30, 2022
Related Content
  • Nutrition
    Resources and information related to child nutrition, nutrition education, food distribution programs, and the Child Nutrition and Physical Activity Advisory Council.
  • 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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