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Direct Verification. Presentation to School Nutrition Association. November 29, 2007. What is Direct Verification?. Using information from means-tested programs to verify school meal applications without contacting households Authorized means-tested programs: Food Stamp Program (FS)

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direct verification

Direct Verification

Presentation to School Nutrition Association

November 29, 2007

what is direct verification
What is Direct Verification?
  • Using information from means-tested programs to verify school meal applications without contacting households

Authorized means-tested programs:

      • Food Stamp Program (FS)
      • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
      • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
      • Medicaid (Title XIX)
      • State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) (Title XXI)
goals for the evaluation
Goals For the Evaluation
  • Evaluate DV-M Implementation
    • Is it feasible?
    • What types of systems work?
    • What are the challenges and lessons?
  • Evaluate DV-M Effectiveness
    • What percentage of school districts use DV-M?
    • What percentage of applications are directly verified?
    • What do districts think of this tool?
  • Participating States: Indiana, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington [Georgia in 2007]
potential benefits of direct verification
Potential Benefits of Direct Verification
  • Reduce workload and hassle for school district staff
  • Reduce burden and intrusion on families selected for verification
  • Reduce number of non-respondents and rate of benefit termination for non-response
  • Improve program integrity by checking eligibility with programs that document income information
advantages of medicaid schip data
Advantages of Medicaid/SCHIP Data
  • Directly certified FS/TANF children are exempt from verification.
    • Thus, few applications will be directly verified with FS/TANF data.
  • Medicaid/SCHIP income limit exceeds Food Stamp income limits
    • Limit at or above NSLP-RP limit (185% FPL) in 46 States.
number of states by medicaid schip eligibility limits
Number of States by Medicaid/SCHIP Eligibility Limits

Number of States

Medicaid/SCHIP income limit (%FPL)

guidelines for direct verification with medicaid
Guidelines for Direct Verification with Medicaid
  • Timing of data
    • Use latest available Medicaid/SCHIP information, no more than 180 days prior to NSLP application date*
  • Matching program data to NSLP applications
    • Use names and other identifiers of children listed on the NSLP application.
    • If Medicaid income limit <133% FPL, a match verifies NSLP-free eligibility. Else, Medicaid info about family income and family size (or income as %FPL) verifies eligibility for NSLP-free or RP.
  • Using match results
    • Match one child on the NSLP application and all children on the application are verified.

* Or use data from the month prior to application through the month of verification.

alternative ways for states to implement direct verification
Alternative Ways for States to Implement Direct Verification
  • Send Medicaid/SCHIP data to districts
  • Collect application data from districts and match at State level
  • Develop a “look-up system” on the State CN/Education website
  • Provide direct access to existing Medicaid/SCHIP program data system

Level of effort:

#1 – Low effort for State

#2 – Most work for State (year after year)

#3 – Upfront investment, low maintenance cost

#4 – Low effort for State if available (depends on existing infrastructure)

tennessee send medicaid data to districts
Tennessee – Send Medicaid Data to Districts
  • State divided file of Medicaid children by county and posted Excel® files on secure website
  • Districts downloaded data file from State website and searched manually
  • Identifiers: SSN, name, DOB, guardian name, address
  • Districts verified NSLP-free eligibility by matching children to Medicaid file
oregon send medicaid data to districts
Oregon – Send Medicaid Data to Districts
  • State provided statewide file of Medicaid children via secure e-mail
  • Districts downloaded data file, opened with their own software—usually Excel®—and searched manually
  • Identifiers: name, DOB, FS/TANF #, guardian name, address
  • Districts verified free/reduced-price eligibility with family income and household size from Medicaid file
washington send state level match results to districts
Washington – Send State-Level Match Results to Districts
  • State matched Medicaid children with statewide student database by name and DOB, created F/RP indicator based on Medicaid information
  • State created Excel® files for selected districts and sent via email (web-based distribution planned for 2007)
  • Districts searched manually and checked F/RP indicator
  • Identifiers: name, DOB, gender, State student ID #, district student ID #, address, school code and name, Medicaid ID number
south carolina collect nslp application data from districts and match at state level
South Carolina – Collect NSLP application data from Districts and Match at State Level
  • Districts created files of verification sample using State template
  • State CN Agency collected disks from districts and sent file to Legislative Office of Research and Statistics (ORS)
  • ORS matched verification sample data with Medicaid data by SSN, name, date of birth, etc.
  • ORS sent verification sample files with match results to State CN Agency, which sent them to school districts
indiana look up system on state website
Indiana - Look-up System on State Website
  • State provided form-based interface on secure website
  • Query of FS, TANF and Medicaid Data (children eligible in July, August, September, or October)
  • Districts login to website and search for individuals using:
    • Student name & DOB (phonetic match)
    • FS/TANF case #
    • Parent/guardian name/SSN
  • Search returned identifiers, F/RP status, reference number
georgia district access to existing medicaid data system
Georgia - District Access to Existing Medicaid Data System
  • Current Food Stamp/TANF/Medicaid eligibility data available via online inquiry system (“GO”)
  • School districts obtained login and installed software to access GO system
  • Query by child’s name, DOB (or age), and sex, or by case number, or parent’s SSN
  • Case record indicated FS/TANF/Medicaid eligibility and listed case members
  • Budget screen provided household income
implementation process
Implementation Process
  • Meet with State Medicaid Agency

Discuss NSLP verification, direct verification, and data needs

  • Determine how DV-M system will work

What Medicaid data to provide to districts and how; how to protect confidential data

  • Establish data-sharing agreements

Specify data elements, formats, timing of exchange; define authority for exchange; provide assurances for protection of confidential data

  • Implement State-level processes

Disseminate instructions and/or provide training to districts; prepare data; “go live” with website or by distributing data to districts; ongoing support

implementation challenges in 2006
Implementation Challenges in 2006
  • Getting access to Medicaid data

Confidentiality issues in Indiana and South Carolina

  • Testing before going live

Income data gap found in Washington; incomplete file for State in Indiana

  • Making it easy for districts to use

Oregon file hard to use; batch matching helpful for large districts; include only the right amount of information

  • “Go live” by October 1

Districts need data and instructions before they start verification; State needs adequate lead time with room for delays

  • States have demonstrated technically feasible approaches to DV-M
  • Challenges for implementation are mainly on the “soft side”—negotiating agreements, promoting district participation, setting and keeping schedule
  • If the State offers DV-M and makes it easy to use, school districts are likely to use it
  • Substantial percentage of applications may be verified if data are timely and complete
  • Effectiveness of DV-M is primarily influenced by district participation and Medicaid income limits
  • When DV-M is effective, it can save time for districts
time and cost of verification activities definitions
Time and Cost of Verification Activities - Definitions
  • Direct verification time/cost includes:
    • Reading instructions and orienting to new process
    • Accessing system to download data or search
    • Searching for students listed on NSLP applications selected for verification
    • Documenting results
  • Household verification time/cost includes:
    • Sending initial letters to households
    • Answering queries from households
    • Processing household documents, determining eligibility, and following up if documents are incomplete
    • At least one follow-up contact with nonresponders