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Office of P-20 Education Policy
Child Nutrition Program Administration
89 Washington Avenue, Room 375 EBA, Albany, NY 12234
Phone: (518) 473-8781 Fax: (518) 473-0018

School Food Service Directors/Managers
Paula Tyner-Doyle, Coordinator
Monday, August 1, 2016
2016-17 Direct Certification and Mandatory Reporting of SNAP/Medicaid Eligible Students

Online Direct Certification Matching Process (DCMP)

The Direct Certification Matching Process (DCMP) is intended to certify all eligible students for free school meals without further application, who reside in a household receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Medicaid (determined by participation in the Medicaid Demonstration Project at or below 133 percent of the Federal poverty guidelines). Therefore, if a member of the household is in the DCMP file as eligible for SNAP or Medicaid, all children in that household are eligible for meals at no charge.

LEAs are required to conduct an electronic data match for SNAP households. This electronic data is also available for certain Medicaid households, as defined in the Medicaid Demonstration Project. A joint effort has been made between the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED) to provide access to confidential electronic data to Local Educational Agencies (LEAs). Direct Certification data includes: the case name (parent/guardian), student’s name (first, middle initial, last), date of birth, age, address (street, city, state, zip code) and name of Assistance Program (SNAP/Medicaid). All DCMP users must certify that this information will remain confidential in compliance with the disclosure statement provided. LEA data systems must be able to match students by indicating the corresponding Assistance Program (i.e., SNAP, Medicaid), and must set a hierarchy within the matching system to choose SNAP when a student is identified as having both SNAP and Medicaid.

LEAs are required to conduct the online DCMP with SNAP at least three times per school year. DCMP data files will be available for LEAs to access in July/August, October, January and April. The DCMP available in July/August must be completed as close to the beginning of the school year as possible. The second DCMP available in October must be completed by or near November 30. The third DCMP available in January must be completed by or near February 28. It is recommended that all LEAs access the additional fourth data file provided in April, which is beneficial for LEAs planning to participate in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).

All LEAs are required to complete the Direct Certification Matching Process.

This applies to all schools (public and nonpublic) that participate in the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Summer Food Service, or Special Milk Programs. This process is also required
for LEAs implementing the Community Eligibility Provision in all years of participation, as well as for Provision 2 in both the base and all non-base years.

The following do NOT have to complete the DCMP process:

  • Jails
  • Residential Child Care Institutions with NO day students

Families who have been electronically matched using the DCMP should be notified in writing and should be provided the opportunity to decline the benefits. Prototype letters in both English and Spanish have been included below for LEA use.

Please click on the links below to access the instructions, checklist, and prototype letter for the direct certification matching process.

Instructions for Accessing Direct Certification Data
Instructions for Direct Certification Case Number Search Tool
Instructions for Direct Certification Last Name Search Tool
Instructions for Direct Certification Date of Birth Search Tool
Checklist for the Direct Certification Matching Process
Prototype Direct Certification Notification Letter - English
Prototype Direct Certification Notification Letter - Spanish

Letter Method (Categorical Eligibility)

The online DCMP will help reduce the waste from paper applications and the burden on low income households to return the Eligibility Letter for Free School Meals/Milk. NYSED will be mailing an “Eligibility Letter for Free School Meals/Milk” to SNAP households as an additional method to capture students that may not have been certified for free meals during the DCMP. Households can submit this letter to LEAs for free school meals/milk as an alternative to the application process. However, this eligibility letter no longer qualifies as a direct certification. The “Eligibility Letter for Free Meals/Milk” qualifies students as categorically eligible for free school meals/milk and will be reported separately from the SNAP DCMP on the Verification Summary Reporting Document FNS-742 on line 3-4. If you receive an Eligibility Letter for Free Meals./Milk from a family, log into the DCMP and search the student using the exact spelling of the student’s name. If found using DCMP, count that student and any other household member(s) by extension as DCMP.

Determining Eligibility for Free School Meals/Milk

Students’ free and reduced meal benefits can only be carried over from the previous school year for 30 operating days from the first day of school. In order to prevent eligible children from experiencing a lapse in accessing their meal benefits, LEAs are strongly encouraged to immediately direct families who have not been electronically matched using DCMP to apply for free or reduced price school meals using one of the following methods:

  1. Submit documentation from OTDA’s “myBenefits” account verifying receipt of SNAP/TANF benefits. If the family submits this documentation, you should search the DCMP database using the case number search tool in order to certify the student(s) via the electronic DCMP.
  2. Submit a copy of the SNAP notification (certification/re-certification) letter. If you receive this notification letter, you should search the DCMP database using one of the available tools, in order to certify the student(s) via the electronic DCMP.
  3. Submit the “Eligibility Letter for Free School Meals/Milk”. If you receive this letter, you should search the DCMP database using the Last name search tool, typing the last name exactly as it appears on the letter, in order to certify the student(s) via the electronic DCMP.
  4. Complete and submit the current year “Application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals/Milk.”

Direct Certification with SNAP supersedes all other forms of student eligibility. If a student is found in the electronic DCMP with both a SNAP and Medicaid record, you must certify that student as SNAP and report the results on the FNS-742 Verification Summary Reporting Document. The SNAP plus extensions will be included on line 3-2 and the Medicaid plus extensions will be included with other applicable eligibles on line 3-3.

Please note that only Medicaid students found in the electronic DCMP and extension of eligibility to other household members of that student are eligible for free meals/milk. Medicaid is not a means-tested program, therefore, a Medicaid number written on an application for free meals/milk or any other form of Medicaid documentation submitted by a family does not make a student categorically eligible for free meals/milk. If you receive an application or another form of Medicaid identification, you can search the electronic DCMP for the student(s), but if not found, the family will have to submit additional documentation in order to certify the student for free or reduced price meals/milk.

If you have directly certified a student through the online DCMP and the household submits any other eligibility documentation (# 1-4 above) you should disregard the other forms of eligibility documentation and the student should retain the DCMP match on the master list.

LEAs should conduct the DCMP prior to the distribution of the parent letter and application to reduce the burden of paperwork for both households and LEAs.

The effective date of eligibility for free school meals/milk is the date of the automated data matching file which first identifies the student as eligible for direct certification, rather than the date the LEA accesses and processes the automated data matching file into their local point of service (POS) system. This flexibility in determining the effective date of eligibility also applies to the ‘Eligibility Letter for Free Meals/Milk.’

Mandatory Reporting of SNAP and Medicaid Eligibles At or Before the Filing of September Claim for Reimbursement

NYSED is mandating SFAs to reporting the number of SNAP plus extension to other household members, and Medicaid plus extension to other household members, by service/claim site at the beginning of the school year. The Child Nutrition Management System has been updated to include this report on the SFA level page tied to the September 2016 claim for reimbursement. Please note that this mandatory report of SNAP and Medicaid DCMP eligible students, plus extension to other household members, is required only once per year, but schools who are conducting standard counting and claiming procedures must conduct DCMP at least three times per year.

The SNAP/Medicaid mandatory report is tied to the September 2016 claim for reimbursement, but may be completed any time after completion of the Annual Renewal Process for 2016. DCMP assists both standard counting and claiming and Special Provision (Provision 2, CEP) schools to certify/identify free eligible students, thereby decreasing the administrative burden of application collection/approval. This mandatory report of SNAP and Medicaid eligible students in the current year is required for Child Nutrition Program federal reporting (FNS-742 Verification Summary, FNS-834 DC Rate Data Element Report, and CEP Notification List) and other NYSED education reporting purposes (BEDS, Title 1, State Aid, etc.).

If you have any questions, please contact your Child Nutrition Program Representative at (518) 473-8781.

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.

Click here for Nondiscrimination Statement translations.