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Congress Urges CA to Expand Medicaid Direct Certification


04.13.2016 On April 6, 2016, twenty-five members of Congress urged the California Department of Education to apply to use Medicaid enrollment data to automatically and paperlessly enroll low-income children for free or reduced price school meals. This process of paperlessly enrolling children for school meals through data matching is commonly referred to as direct certification.

Currently, all school districts that operate a federal school meal program are required by federal law to directly certify students living in households that receive CalFresh benefits. In January 2016, USDA announced its intention to expand direct certification to allow states to apply to use Medicaid enrollment data to directly certify eligible students for free and reduced price meals.

Members of Congress see this as a "critical opportunity for California to ensure that hundreds of thousands of eligible low-income children receive school meals." This opportunity would build upon the state's success with the Medicaid Direct Certification Demonstration Project, which has allowed 14 districts to paperlessly enroll low-income children for free meals using Medicaid data.

Learn more about California's Medi-Cal Direct Certification demo. PDF

The letter from Congress, addressed to Superintendent Tom Torlakson, also acknowledged the progress that the state has made in paperlessly enrolling students for free meals. The letter references a January 2016 press release from Torlakson, which announced the state's success in increasing the number of students paperlessly enrolled for school meals by over 300,000.

Read the letter from Congress. PDF

Learn more about direct certification. PDF

Questions? Contact Elyse Homel Vitale at 510.433.1122 ext. 206 or Anna Colby at 213.482.8200 ext. 204