When a household is selected for verification, the LEA must provide the household with a letter or an email if the parent or guardian contact information is known informing a household of its selection and must provide a list of the documents or other forms of evidence the household must submit to the LEA. When the LEA uses agency records or direct verification to confirm eligibility, a letter informing the household of its selection for verification is not required, as verification is completed. Please see the “Direct Verification” section of this booklet for more information on direct verification.
It is recommended that LEAs use the NYSED prototype “Letter to Households-Notification of Selection for Verification of Eligibility” letter (Attachment A) as this prototype letter contains all required information.
The notification letter must include:
- An indication that the household was selected for verification
- If a child is receiving benefits based on income, a list of the types of acceptable information that may be provided to confirm current income:
- Pay stubs;
- Award letters from assistance agencies for benefits such as Social Security or SSI; or
- Support payment decrees from courts;
- If a child is receiving benefits based on categorical eligibility, the household may provide proof that a child or any household member is receiving benefits under an Assistance Programs (SNAP/TANF/FDPIR) or that a child is Other Source Categorically Eligible instead of providing income information;
- A warning that information must be provided by a date specified by the LEA and that failure to do so will result in termination of benefits
- Notice that documentation of income or receipt of assistance may be provided from any point in time between the month prior to application and the time the household is required to provide income documentation
- A modified Use of Information Statement as follows:
The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act requires the information requested in order to verify your children’s eligibility for free or reduced price meals. If you do not provide the information or provide incomplete information, your children may no longer receive free or reduced price meals.
- Name of an LEA official who can answer questions and provide assistance
- A toll free number for parents to obtain assistance. This can be a local number within the district. It cannot be a long distance call
- The full USDA Nondiscrimination Statement.
Note: You do not need to collect social security numbers of all adults in the household as part of the verification process. Ensure all notification letters are updated and do not request this information.
Any communications with households concerning verification must be in an understandable and uniform format and, to the maximum extent practicable, in a language that parents and guardians can understand.