Section 854 - Simplified Food Stamp Program
Q. Define what is a political subdivision. County? Region? Local office?
A. Definitions will be developed for inclusion in guidelines and regulations.
Q. Will FNS review TANF to determine that the State's SFSP is also meeting the TANF?
A. SFSP’s may employ TANF rules and procedures, FSP rules and procedures or a combination of both. FNS will need some familiarity with a State’s TANF program to ensure that any non-food stamp provision is a TANF provision. Specific guidance will be developed in regulations.
Q. Can the State get waivers to their SFSP?
A. No. The new legislation specifically prohibits the Department from waiving the requirements of the SFSP.
Q. Is there a requirement regarding the length of time the States can operate under a SFSP?
A. There is no time limit specified in the law.
Q. After implementing a SFSP, will the State agency (SA) be allowed to opt out of the SFSP?
A. The law does not include a restriction to States opting out of the SFSP after approval. The law does, however, allow the Department to terminate a SFSP For a SA's failure to carry out a required corrective action and prohibit the agency from operating future SFSPs.
Q. What role will the SFSP contractor have in assisting USDA and States?
A. USDA is in the process of hiring a contractor to provide technical assistance to SAs in developing a SFSP and to FNS in assessing cost neutrality and the program's impact. This contract is scheduled to be awarded by October 1, 1996. Once the contract is awarded, FNS officials will contact States on the protocol for utilizing the technical services of the contractor.
Q. Is SFSP contract issue tied in any way to privatization of the Food Stamp Program?
A. No, as stated above, the primary purpose of the contract is to provide technical assistance both to SAs and FCS.
Q. Will households under the new TANF program be categorically eligible for benefits under the Simplified Food Stamp Program?
A. The legislation does not alter the categorically eligible (CE) status of TANF households under the regular FS program. Under a SFSP, pure TANF households would be CE for the SFSP unless USDA determines that households with income above 130% of the poverty guidelines are eligible for the State's Title IV-A program.
Q. What guidelines will be used in approving mixed households in a State's SFSP?
A. Guidelines and regulations are currently being developed. However, in the interim the statute speaks to the FSP's authority and requirements.
Q. Will approval/denial of a SFSP be at the national or regional level?
A. Approval will be at the national level.
Q. What methodology will be used to determine if a State's proposed SFSP will/will not increase Federal costs for any fiscal year?
A. The methodology will be developed by the contractor. However, in the interim FNS headquarters will work with States to ascertain the Federal costs of a SFSP.
Q. Will the SFSP approval process be conducted on an annual basis?
A. This is to be determined. However, the legislation requires cost neutrality to be determined annually.