Claims and Reimbursement

School Nutrition Programs

Meal Counting and Claiming System

Standard Policies and Operating Procedures

Schools/districts must have standard policies/operating procedures for the meal counting and claiming system for school meals. These policies and operating procedures should identify procedures and responsibilities for the following areas:

1. Student meal payments
· Collecting and processing meal payments from students.
· Counting and depositing lunch monies.
· Developing a meal charging policy.
· Implementing a system to handle lost/stolen meal tickets and the misuse of Personal Identification Numbers (PIN).
2. Meal Service

Train appropriate staff on the:

· Offer versus Serve provision.
· Operation of meal count software.
3. Meal Counting and Claiming
· Totaling or summarizing daily meal counts by category and conducting edit checks.
· Tabulating meal counts by category at the end of each reporting month and submitting the Monthly Claim for Reimbursement online in the Cyber-Linked Interactive Child Nutrition System (CLiCS).
· Conducting on-site reviews (applicable to sponsors with more than one site)


__ Specify the specific duties or tasks that need to be accomplished.

__ Identify the position responsible for completing each task.

__ Determine the back-up position responsible for assuring these tasks are accomplished consistently, even when the usual staff person is unavailable.

__ Specify required time frames for completion of tasks.

__ Tailor the operating procedures as appropriate for specific school sites (multi-site).

__ Train staff as to their roles and responsibilities.

__ Review procedures as necessary and at least annually.

Examples of policies and a checklist a school/district could implement are included on the following pages.

The following is an example of a policy that a school could implement to assure that only reimbursable meals are claimed for reimbursement.



To assure that students, parents and staff are informed of the Offer versus Serve provision and that it is implemented correctly.


A. It is the responsibility of the building principal, teachers, office staff and food service staff to assure that students are encouraged to make healthy food choices and that established procedures are followed.
B. [Name of school or district] extends Offer versus Serve to all grade levels. Students may decline two of the required five menu items.
C. The building principal and food service supervisor assure that annual training about Offer versus Serve is provided to students, parents and staff.
D. The [food service supervisor] is responsible for assuring that responsible staff are trained to identify reimbursable meals and the appropriate action to take if a student does not select a reimbursable meal.


A. The [position] is responsible for writing the menu on the menu board each day.
B. The [food service staff / teachers/assistant] encourages students to make healthy food choices and to select at least three of the five reimbursable items.
C. The [position at Point of Service / end of the line] identifies the student, determines if the students has selected a reimbursable meal and [checks off the student’s name / enters the student’s PIN].
D. If the student has not selected a reimbursable meal, the [position at Point of Service / end of the line] asks the student to return to the serving line and select additional food items.
E. If the student refuses to select a reimbursable meal, he/she is charged a la carte prices for the food items and this meal is not claimed for reimbursement.

Ten Things the Point of Service Monitor Must Know

1. Know which meal pattern the school has in their application and the rules of that pattern.
2. Know what’s on the menu for that day and which items count towards the required components.
3. Determine if a menu component is missing on the menu or during the time of service.
4. Be aware of the planned serving size for each component and if it is appropriate for the age/grade group being served.
5. Be able to recognize when a tray is not reimbursable.
6. Know what to do when faced with a non-reimbursable tray and how to document it.
7. Know how to document meals so that free/reduced-price/paid eligibility can be correctly determined for the claim.
8. Know that under Offer versus Serve, smaller portions of a declined item are encouraged but it cannot count towards a reimbursable meal.
9. The meal must be priced as unit.
10. Know and adhere to the school’s meal charge policy.