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Seamless Summer Option (SSO)


School Food Authorities (SFAs) participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP) are eligible to apply for the Seamless Summer Option (SSO). Once approved, SFAs serve meals free of charge to children, age 18 years and under. Meals may be provided in low income areas during the traditional summer vacation periods and, for year-round schools, during vacation periods longer than 10 school days. The SSO utilizes the online School Nutrition contract and a SSO application. Meals are reimbursed at the “free” rates for the NSLP, SBP, or NSLP Afterschool Snack Program.

Schools seeking options for summer food service are encouraged to look at the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) as the eligibility requirements are the same as the SSO but the SFSP offers a higher reimbursement rate and use of a simpler meal pattern. For more information, visit the SFSP webpage. View the Summer Meal Programs Comparison Chart to assist with determining the best summer feeding option for your school.


Eligibility Requirements

Most eligible schools are located within areas that are considered low income or ‘area eligible’. The following data may be used to determine if a location is area eligible.

  • Wisconsin Free/Reduced Eligibility for All Public Schools (October 2022): A SSO site may operate within the attendance area of a public school building with a school eligibility of 50% or more, as published in the most current Wisconsin Public School Eligibility Data Report or based on the most recent Free/Reduced-priced or Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) data.
  • Census Data may be used in lieu of the Wisconsin Free/Reduced Eligibility Data. The USDA Capacity Builder Map is capable of identifying eligible areas and also locations of potential partners in your community (churches, housing authorities, libraries, etc.). Enter an address in the Find Address or Place search field. The pink areas qualify.
  • Although not typical, SSO can operate in areas that do not qualify via census data or school data. These types of programs provide meals to children who have specifically been determined to be low-income. Contact to discuss further.

Once established, area eligibility remains in effect for five years.

Summer 2023 Application

If you would like to operate the SSO in summer 2023, an approved application is required prior to starting SSO operation. The application deadline has passed; however, if your summer plans have changed and you wish to serve meals under the SSO, contact  to apply. Meals that are served without an approved application are not eligible for reimbursement.

Non-congregate Feeding

In summer 2023, all SSO sites are expected to serve meals in a congregate (group) setting at the permitted location unless approved to serve meals non-congregately. Sites will only be approved to distribute meals in a non-congregate setting if located in a rural area that does not have congregate meal service. For more information, please view the Rural Non-congregate Meal Service Option in the Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option, March 2023 document and contact for approval.

DPI Public Notification of SSO Waiver Requests

General Information and Program Outreach

Site Type

Each SSO site must be designated as one of the following site types:
  • Open - all children eat free in communities, age 18 and under, including children who may not be enrolled in the district.

  • Restricted Open - sites that meet the open site criteria, explained above, but are later restricted for safety, control, or security reasons. Serves children age 18 and under.

  • Closed Enrolled - sites that serve only an identified group of children age 18 and under, who are participating in a specific program or activity. Closed enrolled sites can only serve enrolled children. If the site has summer school, it cannot be closed enrolled.

  • Camps- May be a residential or non-residential camp (day camp) and must offer regularly scheduled food service as part of an organized program for enrolled children. Area eligibility cannot be used to establish camp eligibility; eligibility must be established for each enrolled child.

Program Outreach - Family Letter Templates

SFAs may use these templates to announce to families about their participation in the SSO. Program outreach is required; however, these letters are optional.

Meal Types and Meal Pattern

Meal Types

The maximum number of meals that may be offered under the SSO is up to two meals, or one meal and one snack, per child, per day, in any combination except lunch and supper.

Meal Pattern

SFAs that participate in the SSO must follow the SBP, NSLP, or ASP meal pattern requirements. All meals or snacks must be documented on the SBP and NSLP production record templates.

Meal Counting and Claiming

Point of Service


  • SSO Claiming Manual
  • All meals served in the SSO are claimed in the 'free' category.
  • Meals may be claimed for all children age 18 and under for open or restricted open sites. Closed enrolled sites may only claim meals for enrolled students.
  • Edit checks are not required for SSO sites. However, SFAs must ensure that meal counts match actual participation and claims reflect the number of meals served.
  • SSO Meals are claimed at the approved SSO school site where the meals are provided.

  • When providing SSO meals at non-school locations, meals are claimed at the school site indicated in your SSO application.

Onsite Monitoring

Each year, SFAs are required to review each SSO site at least once during its operation. The SFA must review the site’s compliance with meal counting, claiming, menu planning, and food safety requirements. Document all site monitoring using the SSO Site Review Form.



For questions about SSO, please email:

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