Carryover for purposes of the Child Nutrition Programs refers to a child’s eligibility from the previous school year being carried over into the current or new school year. A student’s eligibility from the previous school year (before July 1) carries over for up to 30 operating days into the new school year, or until a new eligibility determination is made, whichever comes first. The 30 operating days begins on the first operating day of school. Operating days are the days on which reimbursable meals or milk are provided by a school or another program sponsor [7 CFR 245.2]. Carryover applies to eligibility established through a household application or through direct certification. The SFA may not have a carryover period of less than 30 operating days.
Carryover allows students to continue receiving school meal benefits while families complete and submit, and schools process, applications. However, the carryover period is not intended to allow schools to delay processing of applications. Instead, schools must process applications as they are received and promptly notify the household of their eligibility status. Please note that eligibility determinations and household notifications must be made within 10 operating days.
Carryover Within an SFA
Carryover of eligibility within an SFA is mandatory, whether a child is continuing in the same school or will attend a different school within the same SFA. The SFA may not have a carryover period of less than 30 operating days, unless a new eligibility determination is made. When a student moves to a new school within an SFA, the SFA must carry over eligibility for free or reduced price benefits.
Carryover Between SFAs
When children move to a new SFA, either at the beginning of the new school year or during the summer months, the new SFA is encouraged to use the former SFA’s eligibility determination from the previous school year and carry over the child’s eligibility status. SFAs opting to do this can use the former SFA’s eligibility determination for up to 30 operating days, or until a new eligibility determination is made, whichever comes first.
Transfer of Eligibility within an SFA
When a child transfers to a new school within the same SFA, the new school must accept the eligibility determination from the child’s former school, if the child has an individual eligibility determination.
A child that transfers within the same SFA from a Provision 2 or Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school to a non-Provision school must be given free reimbursable meals for up to 30 operating days or until a new eligibility determination is made, whichever comes first.
Transfer of Eligibility between SFAs
Transferring the eligibility determination between SFAs ensures that qualifying students continue to receive school meal benefits as they transition to new schools and avoids the possibility of unpaid meal charges.
When a student transfers to a new SFA, the new SFA is permitted to accept the eligibility determination from the student’s former SFA. SFAs and schools are strongly encouraged to accept the former SFA’s eligibility determination to ease the new student’s transition and ensure there is no break in the student’s meal access. The new SFA should retain written documentation of the eligibility determination made by the former SFA. An email from the former SFA stating the eligibility status is sufficient.
While the new SFA is not liable for the accuracy of the former SFA’s determination, the accepting SFA should review the application for arithmetic errors and compare the income and household size to the applicable Income Eligibility Guidelines to ensure that the correct level of benefits had been assigned. If the accepting or new SFA determines that an arithmetic error occurred, the accepting SFA must notify the household that they must submit a new application in order to determine benefits. Additionally, if the child’s eligibility status is determined to be incorrect during an Administrative Review or as part of verification, the child’s eligibility status would change.
A child that transfers between SFAs from a Provision 2 or Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school to a non-Provision school must be given free reimbursable meals for up to 30 operating days or until a new eligibility determination is made, whichever comes first.