Eligibility, List and Match
Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) in cooperation with the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) provides an automated matching system accessed through TX-UNPS that Local Education Agencies (LEA) use to identify students whose households qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Updated data is available at the beginning of the month - usually the 5th day of the month.
In Texas, Direct Certification for the Food Distribution Program for Indian Reservations (FDPIR) is accomplished when the LEA reaches out to the local tribal organization or appropriate tribal official to get a list of eligible students.
Students can be directly certified by participation in a categorically eligible program or personal status. These include:
- Designated state or federally funded pre-kindergarten programs, including Early Head Start, Even Start and Head Start
- Homeless, including runaways and individuals displaced by declared disasters
The LEA works with an authorized program representative to obtain information so that the LEA can match student enrollment list to a categorically eligible program participation list.
Certify and Report
LEAs must securely maintain the list of directly certified students onsite with the eligibility determination documentation. LEAs report direct certification numbers for categorical assistance eligible programs and other source eligible programs in the School Food Authority (SFA) Verification Report and the Community Eligibility Provision Report each year. These reports are submitted through TX-UNPS.
In today's Child Nutrition Programs, there are other advantages for effectively utilizing direct certification, the most important being the new Community Eligibility Program. LEAs are strongly encouraged to utilize direct certification as early as possible in the summer, preceding the start of the school year. Students should be directly certified prior to the distribution of applications if possible. LEAs must update and maintain direct certification lists monthly through the school year.