WASHINGTON – In recognition of National Nutrition Month, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) led the introduction of the School Hunger Elimination Act to directly certify all school-age children receiving Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the National School Lunch Program.
Direct certification would automatically certify income-eligible students to receive free or reduced-price school meals without an application based on family participation in other means-tested assistance programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This streamlines student access to school meals and reduces administrative costs. It is estimated that including those enrolled in Medicaid and SSI will expand school meals to 280,000 students over ten years.
“For many students, school is the only place they receive a healthy meal. The School Hunger Elimination Act removes yet another barrier to providing vulnerable students with nutritious meals,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “Hungry kids do not learn, and as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations, I remain steadfast in my commitment to improving child nutrition and ending hunger.”
In the United States, 29 million children rely on the National School Lunch Program. Research shows that receiving free or reduced-price school lunches reduces food insecurity, obesity rates, and poor health.
The School Hunger Elimination Act is cosponsored by Representatives Alma Adams (NC-12), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Lucy McBath (GA-06), and Joe Morelle (NY-25).
This bill is endorsed by: Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), Share Our Strength (SOS), End Hunger CT!, and Connecticut Foodshare.
Congresswoman Jahana Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District. She was a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.