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FD-156: Written Beneficiary Notice Requirements for FDPIR ITOs and State Agencies

FNS Document #
Resource type
Policy Memos
Resource Materials
PDF Icon Policy memo (160.62 KB)
PDF Icon Attachment A (109.06 KB)
DATE:July 1, 2024
POLICY NO:FD-156: Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
SUBJECT:Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations
Final Rule: Written Beneficiary Notice Requirements for FDPIR
Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) and State Agencies
TO:Regional Directors
Supplemental Nutrition Programs
Food Distribution Directors
All FDPIR ITOs and State Agencies

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide clarification on the written notice requirements that apply to indian tribal organizations (ITOs) and state agencies that administer FDPIR, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) regulations on equal opportunity for religious organizations to participate in USDA assistance programs at 7 CFR Part 16; and to further clarify that referral requirements do not apply to FDPIR. The final rule entitled Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations (89 FR 15671) amended 7 CFR Part 16 and directed agencies to provide policy guidance or reference materials on a number of program-specific topics.

Beneficiary Protections: Written Notice

In accordance with 7 CFR Part 16.4(c)(1), all organizations that receive USDA Foods or administrative funds for FDPIR must provide a written notice to all beneficiaries and prospective beneficiaries of certain protections in a manner and form prescribed by this policy memorandum. The written notice must include all information in Attachment A, including the following assurances:

  1. The organization may not discriminate against beneficiaries or prospective beneficiaries on the basis of religion, a religious belief, a refusal to hold a religious belief, or a refusal to attend or participate in a religious practice;
  2. The organization may not require beneficiaries or prospective beneficiaries to attend or participate in any explicitly religious activities that are offered by the organization, and any participation by beneficiaries or prospective beneficiaries in such activities must be purely voluntary;
  3. The organization must separate in time or location any privately funded explicitly religious activities from activities supported by direct Federal financial assistance; and
  4. Beneficiaries or prospective beneficiaries may report violations of these protections (including denials of services or benefits) by an organization by contacting or filing a written complaint with USDA’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.

To notify future and prospective beneficiaries, state agencies and ITOs must supply individual written notice of beneficiary protections under 7 CFR Part 16 at the time of application for FDPIR benefits. State agencies and ITOs can comply with this requirement by providing FDPIR applicants with a separate handout at the time of application or by incorporating the required notification language provided in Appendix C to 7 CFR Part 16 and as an attachment to this memorandum into their existing FDPIR applications or other materials that are provided to beneficiaries before the receipt of services. Program operators must begin providing the written notice to all future and prospective beneficiaries as soon as possible.

To notify beneficiaries already enrolled in the program, a written notice must be provided directly to all beneficiaries at food distribution locations or alongside a food package delivery.

Existing beneficiaries should all be notified as soon as possible. A sample form with the required notification language is attached to this memorandum as Attachment A.

Implementation Deadline

State administering agencies and ITOs that administer FDPIR must begin providing beneficiaries with the written notice required by these amended regulations no later than July 2, 2024. State administering agencies and ITOs must have a process in place to ensure all prospective beneficiaries are notified and must complete notification to all existing beneficiaries as soon as possible.

Referral Requirements Not Applicable to FDPIR

The final rule states that FNS may determine that as applicable, the written notice described above must also inform beneficiaries and prospective beneficiaries about how to obtain information from FNS or the state agency about other federally-funded service providers in their area. FNS is affirming through this memorandum that FDPIR’s written notices will not be required to include this information.


In accordance with USDA regulations at 7 CFR Part 16.6, FNS will monitor compliance with new requirements in the course of regular oversight of USDA programs. ITOs and state agencies must continue to follow existing regulatory requirements regarding monitoring and enforcement of these requirements, including the written notice requirement provided in this memorandum. Per current practice, FNS will use management evaluations to monitor compliance with this, and all, statutory and regulatory provisions for FDPIR.

Sara Olson
Policy Division
Supplemental Nutrition and Safety Programs


Page updated: July 10, 2024