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To establish the sample pool, SFAs must count the number of approved free and reduced applications on file for the entire SFA as of October 1. The sample pool depends on the number of approved applications, paper or electronic, and is not based on the number of children eligible for free and reduced priced benefits. If October 1 falls on a weekend or a school break, use the next operating day to establish the sample pool.

SFAs have the option to begin verification prior to October 1, once they begin the application approval process for the current school year. This option may ease the administrative burden for particularly large SFAs who receive several household income applications. However, the sample pool must still be based on the number of applications on file as of October 1. See the Beginning Verification Prior to October 1 tab for additional details.

Applications submitted for “mixed households,” which include children who are eligible based on income and others based on Other Source Categorical Eligibility, are subject to verification and must be included in the sample pool.

Applications with case numbers that are not certified through direct certification are subject to verification and should be included in the sample pool.

Verification must take place after an application has been approved.

Do NOT include:

  • Households that are matched through the Direct Certification Matching Process (DCMP) for SNAP/Medicaid, and those students who have been identified as living in the same household as the certified student receiving SNAP/Medicaid benefits
  • Certification letters for SNAP/TANF from the local assistance agencies
  • Foster children who are identified by a list or letters from social services and voluntary placement agencies
  • Migrant children who have been identified by the district's Migrant Education Program
  • Runaway or homeless children who have been identified by the district's McKinney-Vento school district liaison
  • Children participating in federally funded Head Start/Even Start

*When carrying over eligibility for the first 30 operating days for students whose free or reduced eligibility was determined in the previous school year, do not count these applications in your verification pool and do not verify eligibility. The carryover applications were subject to the verification process in the previous school year.

Last updated
September 22, 2023

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:

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