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The procedures discussed above refer to the required verification process. Applications that are verified “for cause” are in addition to the annually required verification process. SFAs have an obligation to verify all questionable applications (verification “for cause”). SFAs must verify any questionable application including, on a case-by-case basis, verifying any application for cause when the SFA is aware of additional income or persons in the household.

Only after the determination of eligibility has been made can the SFA begin the verification process. Determining officials are strongly encouraged to contact the household during the certification process to clarify any information that is unclear or questionable, before certifying the application and proceeding with verification for cause. Once households have been requested to provide documentation for cause, the SFA must complete the verification process for these households.

It is important to note that the restriction on sample size does not apply to a State’s ability to conduct application verification activities connected to its general oversight responsibilities. For cause may include, but is not limited to, situations where school officials have knowledge of household circumstances that would cause them to verify the information on the application.

SFAs should follow the verification procedures outlined above when verifying an application “for cause”.

If the household fails to submit requested verification information by the date specified by the SFA or submits verification information that does not support the initial determination of eligibility, the household must be sent a notice of adverse action to terminate the free or reduced meal benefits.

The number of applications verified "for cause" and the results of verifying those applications must be reported on the Verification Collection Report (Question VC1). The applications “verified for cause” do not contribute toward your required sample size for the annual verification requirement. Please read the Verification Collection Report Instructions carefully.

Last updated
September 23, 2022

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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