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Households must be notified, either in writing or verbally, of their child’s approved free or reduced eligibility status within 10 operating days of receipt of the application. The SFA may e-mail the notification of the household’s approval for meal benefits to the adult household member who signed the application.

Notification to Households Denied Benefits

Households with children who are denied benefits must be provided with prompt written notification of the denial. The notification may be provided by mail or e-mail to the adult household member who signed the application. Posting the denial on the “notification” page of an online system does not meet this requirement. Likewise, informing the household of denial via telephone does not meet this requirement.

The denial notification must advise the household of:

  • Reason for denial of benefits;
  • Right to appeal;
  • Instructions on how to appeal; and
  • Ability to re-apply for free and reduced price benefits at any time during the school year
Notification of Eligibility Established through Direct Certification

The SFA must notify the household about eligibility established through direct certification.

The notification must include the following information:

  • The child is eligible for free benefits;
  • No further application is necessary;
  • An explanation of extended eligibility and how to notify the SFA of any additional children in the household not listed on the notification; and
  • How to notify the SFA if free benefits for directly certified children are not wanted

This notification must also be provided to households with children directly certified through the letter method or through contacts with officials, such as the SFA’s homeless liaison or a foster care agency.

*Note- Prototype notification letters that include all required information and should be used can be found in the Attachments tab.

Last updated
June 5, 2019

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at:, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:

  1. mail:
    U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
  2. fax:
    (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
  3. email:


This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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