7 CFR § 210.8 - Claims for reimbursement.
(a) Internal controls. The school food authority shall establish internal controls which ensure the accuracy of meal counts prior to the submission of the monthly Claim for Reimbursement. At a minimum, these internal controls shall include: an on-site review of the meal counting and claiming system employed by each school within the jurisdiction of the school food authority; comparisons of daily free, reduced price and paid meal counts against data which will assist in the identification of meal counts in excess of the number of free, reduced price and paid meals served each day to children eligible for such meals; and a system for following up on those meal counts which suggest the likelihood of meal counting problems.
(1) On-site reviews. Every school year, each school food authority with more than one school shall perform no less than one on-site review of the counting and claiming system and the readily observable general areas of review cited under § 210.18(h), as prescribed by FNS for each school under its jurisdiction. The on-site review shall take place prior to February 1 of each school year. Further, if the review discloses problems with a school's meal counting or claiming procedures or general review areas, the school food authority shall: ensure that the school implements corrective action; and, within 45 days of the review, conducts a follow-up on-site review to determine that the corrective action resolved the problems. Each on-site review shall ensure that the school's claim is based on the counting system authorized by the State agency under § 210.7(c) of this part and that the counting system, as implemented, yields the actual number of reimbursable free, reduced price and paid meals, respectively, served for each day of operation.
(2) School food authority claims review process. Prior to the submission of a monthly Claim for Reimbursement, each school food authority shall review the lunch count data for each school under its jurisdiction to ensure the accuracy of the monthly Claim for Reimbursement. The objective of this review is to ensure that monthly claims include only the number of free, reduced price and paid lunches served on any day of operation to children currently eligible for such lunches.
(A) Develop internal control procedures that ensure accurate meal counts. The school food authority shall submit any internal controls developed in accordance with this paragraph to the State agency for approval and, in the absence of specific disapproval from the State agency, shall implement such internal controls. The State agency shall establish procedures to promptly notify school food authorities of any modifications needed to their proposed internal controls or of denial of unacceptable submissions. If the State agency disapproves the proposed internal controls of any school food authority, it reserves the right to require the school food authority to comply with the provisions of paragraph (a)(3) of this section; or
(B) Comply with the requirements of paragraph (a)(3) of this section.
(ii) Any school food authority that was identified in the most recent administrative review conducted in accordance with § 210.18, or in any other oversight activity, as having meal counting and claiming violations shall comply with the requirements in paragraph (a)(3) of this section.
(3) Edit checks.
(i) The following procedure shall be followed for school food authorities identified in paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section, by other school food authorities at State agency option, or, at their own option, by school food authorities identified in paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section: the school food authority shall compare each school's daily counts of free, reduced price and paid lunches against the product of the number of children in that school currently eligible for free, reduced price and paid lunches, respectively, times an attendance factor.
(ii) School food authorities that are identified in administrative reviews conducted in accordance with § 210.18 as not having meal counting and claiming violations and that are correctly complying with the procedures in paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section have the option of developing internal controls in accordance with paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section.
(4) Follow-up activity. The school food authority shall promptly follow-up through phone contact, on-site visits or other means when the internal controls used by schools in accordance with paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section or the claims review process used by schools in accordance with paragraphs (a)(2)(ii) and (a)(3) of this section suggest the likelihood of lunch count problems. When problems or errors are identified, the lunch counts shall be corrected prior to submission of the monthly Claim for Reimbursement. Improvements to the lunch count system shall also be made to ensure that the lunch counting system consistently results in lunch counts of the actual number of reimbursable free, reduced price and paid lunches served for each day of operation.
(5) Recordkeeping. School food authorities shall maintain on file, each month's Claim for Reimbursement and all data used in the claims review process, by school. Records shall be retained as specified in § 210.23(c) of this part. School food authorities shall make this information available to the Department and the State agency upon request.
(b) Monthly claims. To be entitled to reimbursement under this part, each school food authority shall submit to the State agency, a monthly Claim for Reimbursement, as described in paragraph (c) of this section.
(1) Submission timeframes. A final Claim for Reimbursement shall be postmarked or submitted to the State agency not later than 60 days following the last day of the full month covered by the claim. State agencies may establish shorter deadlines at their discretion. Claims not postmarked and/or submitted within 60 days shall not be paid with Program funds unless otherwise authorized by FNS.
(2) State agency claims review process. The State agency shall review each school food authority's Claim for Reimbursement, on a monthly basis, in an effort to ensure that monthly claims are limited to the number of free and reduced price lunches served, by type, to eligible children.
(i) The State agency shall, at a minimum, compare the number of free and reduced price lunches claimed to the number of children approved for free and reduced price lunches enrolled in the school food authority for the month of October times the days of operation times the attendance factor employed by the school food authority in accordance with paragraph (a)(3) of this section or the internal controls used by schools in accordance with paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section. At its discretion, the State agency may conduct this comparison against data which reflects the number of children approved for free and reduced price lunches for a more current month(s) as collected pursuant to paragraph (c)(2) of this section.
(ii) In lieu of conducting the claims review specified in paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section, the State agency may conduct alternative analyses for those Claims for Reimbursement submitted by residential child care institutions. Such alternatives analyses shall meet the objective of ensuring that the monthly Claims for Reimbursement are limited to the numbers of free and reduced price lunches served, by type, to eligible children.
(4) Corrective action. The State agency shall promptly take corrective action with respect to any Claim for Reimbursement which includes more than the number of lunches served, by type, to eligible children. In taking corrective action, State agencies may make adjustments on claims filed within the 60-day deadline if such adjustments are completed within 90 days of the last day of the claim month and are reflected in the final Report of School Program Operations (FNS-10) for the claim month required under § 210.5(d) of this part. Upward adjustments in Program funds claimed which are not reflected in the final FNS-10 for the claim month shall not be made unless authorized by FNS. Except that, upward adjustments for the current and prior fiscal years resulting from any review or audit may be made, at the discretion of the State agency. Downward adjustments in amounts claimed shall always be made, without FNS authorization, regardless of when it is determined that such adjustments are necessary.
(c) Content of claim. The Claim for Reimbursement shall include data in sufficient detail to justify the reimbursement claimed and to enable the State agency to provide the Report of School Program Operations required under § 210.5(d) of this part. Such data shall include, at a minimum, the number of free, reduced price and paid lunches and meal supplements served to eligible children. The claim shall be signed by a school food authority official.
(1) Consolidated claim. The State agency may authorize a school food authority to submit a consolidated Claim for Reimbursement for all schools under its jurisdiction, provided that, the data on each school's operations required in this section are maintained on file at the local office of the school food authority and the claim separates consolidated data for commodity schools from data for other schools. Unless otherwise approved by FNS, the Claim for Reimbursement for any month shall include only lunches and meal supplements served in that month except if the first or last month of Program operations for any school year contains 10 operating days or less, such month may be combined with the Claim for Reimbursement for the appropriate adjacent month. However, Claims for Reimbursement may not combine operations occurring in two fiscal years. If a single State agency administers any combination of the Child Nutrition Programs, a school food authority shall be able to use a common claim form with respect to claims for reimbursement for meals served under those programs.
(2) October data. For the month of October, the State agency shall also obtain, either through the Claim for Reimbursement or other means, the total number of children approved for free lunches and meal supplements, the total number of children approved for reduced price lunches and meal supplements, and the total number of children enrolled in the school food authority as of the last day of operation in October. The school food authority shall submit this data to the State agency no later than December 31 of each year. State agencies may establish shorter deadlines at their discretion. In addition, the State agency may require school food authorities to provide this data for a more current month if for use in the State agency claims review process under paragraph (c)(2) of this section.
(d) Advance funds. The State agency may advance funds available for the Program to a school food authority in an amount equal to the amount of reimbursement estimated to be needed for one month's operation. Following the receipt of claims, the State agency shall make adjustments, as necessary, to ensure that the total amount of payments received by the school food authority for the fiscal year does not exceed an amount equal to the number of lunches and meal supplements by reimbursement type served to children times the respective payment rates assigned by the State in accordance with § 210.7(b). The State agency shall recover advances of funds to any school food authority failing to comply with the 60-day claim submission requirements in paragraph (b) of this section.
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