State agencies, local agencies, or other recipients that fail to provide free language assistance (interpretation/translation) to potentially-eligible persons, applicants, and participants, who are limited English proficient (LEP), or deny LEP persons access to federally assisted programs and activities, may be discriminating on the basis of national origin in violation of Title VI and its implementing regulations. In order to ensure compliance with Title VI and Title VI regulations, recipients are required to take reasonable steps to ensure “meaningful access” to their programs and activities.
FNS Policy Memos
- Ensuring Language Access for LEP Individuals and Effective Communication for Individuals with Disabilities In Consideration of the Recent Unwinding of the SNAP Emergency Allotments and Upcoming Unwinding of COVID-19 Program Flexibilities (5/30/23)
- Meaningful Access for Persons with LEP in the School Meal Programs: Guidance and Q&As (5/25/16)
Laws, Regulations & Guidance
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 USC 2000d to 2000d-6 at 7 CFR 15) prohibits discrimination based on race, color and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.
- Executive Order 13166 - Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency
- USDA Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding the Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Persons With Limited English Proficiency
- SNAP Bilingual Requirements and Thresholds for Participating State Agencies (7 CFR 272.4)
LEP Data Tools
- DOJ LEP Mapping Tools
- US Census Data
- American Community Survey
- Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy