USDA Direct Certification with Medicaid for Free and Reduced-Price Meals (DCM-F/RP) Demonstration, School Year 2019–2020
- DCM‑F/RP resulted in substantial numbers of students directly certified to receive free or reduced-price meals based on Medicaid data. In SY 2019-2020, more than 1.2 million students were certified for free meals, and 240,000 students were certified for reduced-price meals through DCM-F/RP. These students would not have been directly certified in the absence of the demonstration.
- These changes in certification outcomes were not, however, consistently associated with changes in participation or reimbursement rates.
- State administrative costs decreased over the course of the demonstration, and only three states reported administrative costs for DCM-F/RP above $5,000 in school year 2019-2020.
The demonstration of Direct Certification with Medicaid for Free and Reduced-Price Meals (DCM-F/RP) enhances benefit coordination by allowing authorized states and school districts to use information from Medicaid data files to identify students eligible to receive meals for free or at a reduced price, such that eligible students can be certified for meals without the need for household applications. Fifteen states participated in the DCM-F/RP demonstration. The current report examines outcomes related to certification, participation, federal reimbursement, and state administrative costs in school year 2019-2020 and over the course of the demonstration.