Applications-Student Meals

Option to Approve Applications for Educational Benefits

Back to Receipt Date

When your local educational agency (LEA) approves Applications for Educational Benefits for School Nutrition Programs (SNPs), the effective date for SNP meal benefits is usually the date that the LEA official approves and signs the application.

This page describes a different option for approving applications back to the “receipt date,” that is, the date that the LEA received each application. If your LEA chooses the receipt date option, the option must be used to process all applications at all sites.

Advantages to the household or LEA from the receipt date option:

· Meal benefits will start earlier for some households, based on the date the LEA received the application.
· Additional flexibility to the timeline for application review and approval, since meal benefits can be approved back to the receipt date. (However, the LEA still must review all applications a timely manner.)

Additional responsibilities to LEA for the receipt date option:

· Document the receipt date on each application. For example, date-stamp the applications received each day.
· Track and provide refunds of meal payments to households as needed, when households have paid for meals and then meal benefits are approved later.

· Adjust claims for reimbursement if necessary. Generally claim adjustments should not be needed, since all applications received in a month should be processed before the claim is submitted.

Requirements if Using the Receipt Date Option

1. Annually Notify MDE in CLiCS

If your LEA wants to use the receipt date option, notify the Minnesota Department of Education each program year in the Cyber-Linked Interactive Child Nutrition System (CLiCS). Check the box for “Electing Flexibility Option for Free or Reduced-Price Meal Eligibility Determination Effective Date” on the SNP sponsor application in CLiCS. (If this box on the sponsor application is left unchecked, your LEA must continue to use the official’s approval date as the effective date for meal benefits.)

2. Document Receipt Date for Applications

Your LEA must document the date that each application is received at your LEA. For example, you can date-stamp the applications that are received each day.

Tip: An application may be approved back to the receipt date only if the application was complete when received. When households provide incomplete applications, meal benefits are delayed (see discussion below about incomplete applications). For this reason, an LEA may choose to check applications for completeness at the time they are received (not required).

3. Approve Applications Back to Receipt Date

When your LEA reviews and approves a complete* application that was previously received, meal benefits are effective back to the receipt date of the application.

* Incomplete applications: An application may be approved back to the receipt date only if it was complete when received. When applications are reviewed and found to be incomplete, request the missing information from the household. The application may be approved effective the date that the LEA receives the missing information, that is, the date that the application becomes complete. An application may not be approved back to the original receipt date when an incomplete application was provided.

Tip: When using the receipt date option, continue to review all applications as soon as possible so that households receive meal benefits as quickly as possible and refunds are minimized.

Tip: To avoid incomplete applications, the LEA may choose to check applications for completeness at the same time the applications are received. See the “tip” above under number 2.

4. Provide Refunds to Households as Needed

When a household has paid for meals and then their application is approved back to the receipt date, your LEA must provide timely refunds of any meal payments. Or, if the household has incurred debt for the meals, the debt must be forgiven.

For example, a student is paying for paid meals and the household submits an application that is approved later for reduced-price meal benefits. The LEA must provide a timely refund to the household back to the receipt date of the application. The amount of refund, in this situation, would be calculated on the total amount paid since the application was received, less the total amount that should have been paid for reduced-price meals.

5. Adjust Claims as Needed

Claim adjustments should not be necessary, since claims for reimbursement should not be submitted until all applications that were received during the claiming month have been processed. A claim adjustment may be submitted, if necessary, under the following circumstances:

1. The claim can be adjusted upwards due to the approval of meal benefits back to an application receipt date that was in the claiming month.

2. The claim is still within the 60-day deadline for adjustment.

3. If the household paid for the meals, the LEA has provided a refund (or forgiven the debt).

Reference – U.S. Department of Agriculture Memorandum SP 11-2014 Effective Date of Free or Reduced Price Meal Eligibility Determinations, December 2013.