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VerificationSchool Year2010-2011 Alabama Department of Education Child Nutrition Programs
What is Verification? The confirmation of a students’ eligibility for Free and Reduced-Priced meals under the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program. • Required annually by the USDA • Reauthorization Act of 2004
Verification Deadlines As of October 1 Count Total Number of Approved Applications November 15 Verification Process Completed March 1 Summary Submission to State Department School Year 2010-11
3 Steps to Selecting Applications for Verification: As of October 1: Step 1- Count ALL approved free & reduced priced meal applications. (Does not include Direct Certification, Homeless, Runaway, Migrant or Head Start.)
3 Steps (Cont.): Step 2- Calculate number of applications to be verified: • Standard Sample Size Method • Use this method unless your district is on the list posted on the state’s website under “SFAs Qualifying for Alternate Verification Method.” If you qualify, you have a choice of using either Standard or Alternate Random or Alternate Focused Sample Size.
3 Steps (Cont.): Standard Sample Size • 3% or 3000 of approved applications (recorded in step 1 of 3), whichever is less
3 Steps (Cont.):Standard Sample Size Calculation _____________, Total number of approved applications recorded in step 1 of 3 X .03 (3%) = ______________applications to verify OR 3,000 approved applications, whichever is less (Round all decimals upward)
3 Steps (Cont.): • Alternate Sample Size • “SFAs Qualifying for Alternate Verification Method” • 2 Choices
3 Steps (Cont.): Alternate Random Sample Size • 3% or 3000 of approved applications (recorded in step 1 of 3), whichever is less
3 Steps (Cont.):Alternate Random Sample Size Calculation _____________, Total number of approved applications recorded in step 1 of 3 X .03 (3%) = ______________applications to verify OR 3,000 approved applications, whichever is less (Round all decimals upward)
3 Steps (Cont.): Alternate Focused Sample Size • 1% or 1000 of approved applications (recorded in step 1 of 3), whichever is less PLUS • The lesser of one-half of one percent (0.5%) of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and TANF applications
3 Steps (Cont.):Alternate Focused Sample Size Calculation _____________ Total number of approved applications recorded in step 1 of 3 X .01 (1%) = ____ PLUS(+) _____________ Total number of “SNAP / TANF” applications X .005 (0.5%) =____
3 Steps (Cont.): Step 3- Pulling verification applications: If you used Standard Sample Size: First, pull from the Error-Prone applications to select the required number of applications for verification from calculation on Step 2A.
What are Error-Prone Apps? Error-Prone Applications • Applications that household income is within $100 monthly or $1,200 yearly of USDA income guidelines. Not Error-Prone Approved Applications • Select from these randomly to meet sample size requirements if not enough Error-Prone applications.
3 Steps (Cont.): If you used Alternate Random Sample Size: Pull from all approved applications (Error-Prone & Non Error-Prone) to select the required number of applications for verification from Step 3B choice #1.
3 Steps (Cont.): If you usedAlternate Focused Sample Size: First, pull from the Error-Prone applications to select the required number of approved applications for verification from Step 3B choice #2. PLUS(+) From the SNAP/ TANF applications, pull required number of “SNAP / TANF” applications for direct verification from Step 3B choice #2. Use sheet provided for direct verification.
After Initial Selection • LEAs are encouraged to avoid verifying the same family for 2 consecutive years. • Must conduct confirmation review on selected applications if not completed before verification.
Timeline for Process October 1 – November 15
Guidelines for Household Notification Letter • Letter to notify household of verification must include the following information: • Informs household to submit income documentation from between 1 month before the application submission and the point of verification: • For 1 month (Usually 2 pay stubs) • Gross income • Net income only for farmers or self-employed persons
Guidelines for Household Notification Letter, Cont. • Types of acceptable information • Pay stubs, proof of TANF, etc. • Written evidence must include • Name of household member • Amount of income received • Frequency received • Date the income was received
Guidelines for Household Notification Letter, Cont. • Household must provide the complete social security number for each adult household member. (Income apps only) • An adult member is anyone who is 21 years of age or older. • Deadline for information to be submitted before benefits are discontinued. • The Privacy Act and Non-Discrimination Statement
Guidelines for Household Notification Letter, Cont. • Include an approval official’s phone number that households can reach with no charge to them (local, toll free, or collect).
2nd Notification Letter to Parents Advises the household of: • The change or no change in benefits • Reasons for the change • That an appeal must be filed within 10 calendar- days to continue benefits. • Instructions on how to appeal • Household may reapply at any time (with income documentation) after verification completion
November 15- February 15 • Tracking of Non-Response Families
District Summary • Submit electronically to state agency by March 1, 2011 on internet form. • Forms and instructions found on State website • Do not send information in hardcopy form
Frequently Asked Questions
Criteria for Eligibility for Alternative Sample Size? • Any LEA with preceding school year nonresponse rate less than 20%. • Large LEAs with 10% improvement in nonresponse rate.
Not Enough Error-Prone Applications? • Not enough Error-Prone applications to meet number needed for sample size? • Select additional applications randomly to meet sample size requirements.
Problem meeting required Sample Size? • Reasons for not meeting sample size • Students left district. • Confirmation review revealed errors in initial determination and no longer has benefits to verify. • Solution • Replace the application with another application to verify and meet the sample size requirement.
Type of Documentation To Be Submitted? • Written evidence received directly from the household. • The household may identify a collateral contact in which the SFA could obtain the requested information. • Collateral contacts include employers, social service agencies, migrant workers’ agencies, religious, civic organizations, etc.
Insufficient Evidence • Household sends insufficient written evidence or does not respond. • LEA must make at least one additional attempt to contact the household and inform them that failure to comply will discontinue benefits. • Can be in writing or by phone. • Must document any contact with household. • Required and is checked during CRE audit.
Zero Income Households That Get Picked for Verification? Household must provide written documentation describing the household’s circumstances when no income is indicated on the application.
Time Periods for Changing Eligibility Status? • Reduction or Termination of benefits-10 calendar days advance notice. • Increase in benefits- ASAP up to 3 days to implement. Household must be notified. • Changes in status must be documented, records kept and retrievable.
What To Document? • Initial all changes • Date of documentation • Include any important information • Who • What • When • Where • Why
What If A Parent / Guardian Appeals? • Should a household appeal during the 10 calendar days advance notice period, the district must continue to provide benefits originally issued to the child until a final determination is made. • Otherwise benefits are changed at the end of the 10 calendar days.
Hearing Procedure? • Follow the district’s policy statement. • Hearing official must be an individual who is not involved with the approval or verification process. • Household may request a school conference prior to a formal hearing.
Households that Reapplyafter Verification? If benefits are changed due to verification, they must submit income documentation as required by verification to reapply for benefits.
Record Keeping Requirements Keep a full record of the verification process including: • Copies of notices/letters and dates sent • Notes on contacts made • Results of verification • Reasons for denial or change in eligibility status and the date • Signature of verifying official • Copy of Verification Summary • Save for 5 years
Students reapplying after Verification? • Students who reapplied and were re-instated for benefits after being taken off for non-response—how to count as non-response or response? • Student may NOT be counted as having responded to verification.
Application Reviewers?? • 1st Party Reviewer (Determining official) • 2nd Party Reviewer (Confirming/Verifying) • Hearing Official • The hearing official must not be a Child Nutrition Program employee but must be a member of the Board of Education.
What is Direct Certification? • The process under which LEAs certify children who are members of households receiving assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, as eligible for free meals from the State Department Of Education only. • Do not contact DHR until application has been selected for verification.
Direct Certification FAQs • When to run?? • Pulled from DHR files as of July 1st • Only for use in the first month of school • Not intended to be used as real time data • What if application is turned in later in the year showing income that exceeds guideline for free lunches? • Do not change eligibility status ofany direct certification approved students.
What Is Direct Verification? • Direct verification is using income and program participation information from public agencies administering certain programs to complete SNAP and TANF verification. • Use sheet on next slide to complete direct verification.
What Is Direct Verification?, Cont. • Programs for Direct Verification • SNAP • State TANF • State Medicaid • SCHIP – State Children’s Health Insurance Program
Point of Contacting Public Agencies? Direct Verification is the only time a school district should be contacting public agencies using list.
What is “For Cause”? • The district has an obligation to verify all questionable applications as “for cause.” • Any verification that is conducted “for cause” is in addition to the sample size required.
Privacy Act Statement The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act requires the information on this application. You do not have to give the information, but if you do not, we cannot approve your child for free or reduced price meals. You must include the social security number of the adult household member who signs the application. The social security number is not required when you apply on behalf of a foster child or you list a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) case number or other FDPIR identifier for your child or when you indicate that the adult household member signing the application does not have a social security number. We will use your information to determine if your child is eligible for free or reduced price meals, and for administration and enforcement of the lunch and breakfast programs. We MAY share your eligibility information with education, health, and nutrition programs to help them evaluate, fund, or determine benefits for their programs, auditors for program reviews, and law enforcement officials to help them look into violations of program rules.
Non-discrimination Statement “In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 or (202) 720-6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”