Understanding the Connection Between Medicaid and School Meals

Through a process called direct certification, many students in participating states who are eligible for Medicaid and other select federal, means-tested programs are automatically eligible to receive free and reduced-price school meals without completing an application. Consequently, ensuring that eligible students and families are enrolled in these federal programs is one means of increasing participation in and revenue from school meals. This is especially important during the start of the 2023-2024 school year, when many students and households are expected to lose Medicaid coverage during the "unwinding" process that will require households to reapply and recertify for Medicaid.

This resource explains in further detail the connection between Medicaid and school meals and includes a link to resources that can help organizations reach out to families with information about how to maintain their Medicaid -- and free and reduced-price school meals -- enrollment.

CMS Back-to-School & School-Based Outreach hub for Medicaid & CHIP

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a hub specifically for schools and community organizations containing ready-made outreach materials to help students and households through the Medicaid unwinding process. The materials are designed for numerous communication platforms, available in multiple languages, and customizable to maximize reach and effectiveness.