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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
Frances O'Donnell
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Replacement of Multi-purpose Student ID Cards Used for School Meals

Several schools are now using multi-purpose student identification ID cards for a variety of student privileges.  These may include buses, library services, and building entry, as well as for school meals.  The ID card is encoded with the child's eligibility for school meals.   The question often arises as to whether the child who receives free or reduced priced meals can be required to pay for replacement ID cards.  While USDA has not issued formal guidance on the issue of the replacement of the cards, they have established the following policy:

    "When possession of an ID card is required as a condition of enrollment in the school, and the card is used for multiple purposes (such as entry into the school, use of library facilities, etc.) in addition to meal services, the cost of the card may be charged to households.  Also, schools must advise parents in advance of their policy regarding lost meal cards.  The school's system must allow a minimum of three ticket replacements for lost or stolen cards, unless there is an alternate meal payment method in place, such as accompanying the student through the line.  The school must maintain a list of students who have reported missing cards in the current school year and the number of occurrences for each student.  The school must give advance written warning when preparing to refuse replacement cards, including an explanation of why the replacement is being refused.  Meals must always be provided to preprimary and young primary students, or for any handicapped students who may be unable to take full responsibility for a meal card."

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.