Skip to main content

Direct Certification Report

MSDS Direct Certification Report

Please see the MSDS web page for general MSDS manuals, training, and technical support material.

The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-265) amended the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to require direct certification. Each local educational agency must directly certify children who are members of households receiving assistance under one of the following programs as eligible for free school meals, without further application, based on information provided from the Department of Health and Human Services:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Benefits can be extended to other children in the same household.
  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Benefits can be extended to other children in the same household.
  • Foster Child program. Benefits cannot be extended to other children in the same household.

DHHS data are matched with student enrollment data as reported in the MSDS. Matched students are automatically eligible for free or reduced school meals and listed on the Direct Certification report. Each LEA must notify these households that directly certified children are eligible for free benefits, and no further application is necessary. These children remain directly certified for the entire school year, even if their economic status changes. For more information on federal Direct Certification regulations, please refer to the Eligibility Manual for School Meals.

See the CEPI Calendar Page for our master calendar of deadlines and collection dates.

The Medicaid Demonstration Project explains eligibility for this program.