Sample Solution #1: Verification Flyer
(This is just a sample, posted by USDA to generate discussion.)
Here in Applewood School District, more than half of our children rely on free or reduced school meals, but we have always struggled with households failing to respond to verification. We hate to see families potentially lose their benefits especially when they’ve already qualified for them, so we’ve been trying new things to boost our response rate. One strategy we’ve found success with is making sure that households know about the verification process before we begin selecting our sample so when we send our families their certification letters, we also include a flyer about the verification process. We initially considered mailing the flyer with our free and reduced price applications, but changed to sending the notice with the certification letter because of concerns that families might not apply for benefits. The flyer provides a brief, plain-language description of what verification is and why we do it, and includes a picture of what our verification packet looks like—both the envelope and the materials inside—to reduce the chance that the households ignore or discard it. We’ve found that providing clear info up front helps to avoid confusion, and makes households more aware of how to respond if selected for verification. And most importantly of all, it helped to reduce our non-response rate by nearly a quarter in the school year after we started sending out the flyers!