Direct Certification

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.

School Year 2018-2019 Direct Certification

We have made a few changes that we hope will make this portal more convenient to use.

New and All Matches in .CSV format can now be download directly from the Blue Direct Certification Page. You don't need to go to the next screen.

That complete download page is there still though if you click More Download Options. .XML and .TXT formats for New and All lists, as well as NO COUNTY MATCHES, and UNMATCHED SIBLING Lists, can be found here.

The Lookup Process is essentially the same, although we have simplified the display and show only the current status. The monthly history grid was confusing to many. First and Last Names, Date of Birth, and Eligibility are seen directly in the search list. To aid in further narrowing down your search you can view address and parent/guardian information by clicking on the + sign on the left. The Print function remains the same, allowing you to print a record for your files of any student identified.

The Medicaid Pilot remains in effect, as last year.

Program Assistance Code Eligibility
SNAP (Food Stamps) "F" Free

TANF "A" Free

FosterChild "W" Free

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

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.