Nutrition and Wellness Programs

Electronic Direct Certification Process

Direct Certification is a simplified method of determining student’s eligibility for free meals through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs or free milk under the Special Milk Program without completing a Household Eligibility Application. In addition, students directly certified to receive free meals or milk are not subject to verification.

Effective with school year 2009–2010, a NEW Electronic Direct Certification System was implemented statewide.  The eligibility certificates that were mailed to each student receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) will NO LONGER be mailed.

<empty> Electronic Direct Certification Guidance

<empty> Sample Documents

Direct Certification with Medicaid Demonstration Project

The Illinois State Board of Education was selected to participate in a USDA Demonstration Project related to direct certification with Income Eligible Medicaid Data in selected Local Education Agencies (LEA). USDA randomly selected LEAs to participate in this demonstration project and to serve as control LEAs for evaluation purposes. This project was authorized by Congress in Section 103 of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-296). This demonstration project began in SY2012-2013 and continues now.   

The objective of this demonstration project is to determine the potential of direct certification with Income Eligible Medicaid to reach children who are eligible for free school meals who are not certified as well as those that are certified via a household eligibility application. Ultimately, the project with help to provide an estimate of the effect of direct certification with Income Eligible Medicaid on the Federal costs of the School-Based Child Nutrition Programs and on participation in such programs. The Act in Section 305 also requires that States and selected school districts participate in this study.

In School Year 2013-2014, with the approval of the USDA, additional LEAs in Illinois will have access to Income Eligible Medicaid direct certification matches without inclusion in the demonstration project evaluation component. A complete list of Illinois LEAs and the level of participation is detailed on the list below