System Documents and File Layouts
Documents that were previously available on this page as links on the right hand side, are now available from this page, and all other pages , by clicking on the HELP MENU item in the upper right hand corner.
Direct Certification is a technique or process for determining student eligibility for free or reduced-price schoolmeals automatically through data exchange with the SNAP/Food Stamp Program, the TANF Program, Medicaid, and Foster Child Data. When a student is Directly Certified, the student's family need not complete the traditional application for free or reduced-price meals. This saves parents and school administrators time, and provides a uniform and efficient method for eligibility determinations.
In today's Child Nutrition Programs, there are other advantages for effectively utilizing Direct Certification, the most important being the new Community Eligibility Program. Schools are strongly encouraged to utilize Direct Certification as early as possible in the summer, preceding the start of school. Students should be Directly Certified prior to the distribution of applications if possible. USDA Regulations require that Direct Certification be completed at a minimum of three times a year. The Indiana Department of Education strongly encourages and facilitates the use of these methods continually throughout the school year.
New for 2017-2018
Please remember that while the mechanics of the Direct Certification Web Portal work very similar to prior years, we have started using Medicaid Data for matching this year and that introduces subtle changes to your processes. In past years, programs used to match were:
Program Assistance Code Eligibility
SNAP (Food Stamps) "F" Free
TANF "A" Free
FosterChild "W" Free
As noted, all of these were and continue to be eligibile for Free Meals. This year, we have added Medicaid as a program for matching. Due to the nature of Medicaid income eligibibility, some Medicaid Matches will be Directly Certified for Free and some will be Directly Certified for Reduced-Price meals. Direct Certification for Reduced-Price eligibility is NEW. Thus, we are adding to the codes that you will see in column "U" of various downloaded lists. The new codes, in addition to the ones above, are:
Medicaid (Free) "M" Free
Medicaid (Reduced) "R" Reduced
This introduces complexity into school enrollment processes. While data may show that a student can be directly certified for Reduced Price meals based on Medicaid Data that does not mean that the family may not still be able to prove Free Lunch Eligibility based on Family size and income data submitted by a conventional application. For that reason, parents should be notified that they can either accept the Reduced-Price eligibility through Direct Certification, or submit an application. Additionally, if a family has already been approved for Free Meals by application, a Direct Certification result of Reduced should never be the basis for taking away the Free Meal eligibility. Our website has new parent letters for Direct Certification that handle these situations.
Please contact our office if you have remaining questions.
Direct Verification is a special process that may be used to expedite the Verification of a sample of Applications during the October 1-November 15 time frame. It is a specialized process that should be utilized ONLY within that context and should not be used to establish eligibility. As such, it is not available for use except during the October-December time period each year.
Neither of these processes should be used within the context of the School Voucher/Indiana Choice Scholarships Program. There are other systems on the Application Center to facilitate eligibility for these benefits.