Additional State Agency Requirements in the Summer Food Service Program
|DATE:||January 24, 2013|
|POLICY MEMO:||SFSP 06-2013 - REVISED|
|SUBJECT:||Additional State Agency Requirements in the Summer Food Service Program|
Special Nutrition Programs
Child Nutrition Programs
The purpose of this memorandum is to introduce a standard process to be used by state agencies when requesting approval to implement additional state agency requirements for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and clarify enforcement options. This memorandum supersedes SFSP 03-2012, Additional State Requirements in the Summer Food Service Program, October 31, 2011.
States are permitted to implement additional state agency requirements that are not inconsistent with the federal requirements, do not deny access to the program to eligible children, and have been reviewed and approved by the applicable Food and Nutrition; Service (FNS) regional office [7 CFR §225.18(f)].
Before implementing additional requirements, state agencies are required to submit a formal request to the FNS Special Nutrition Programs regional director in their region. The request must be submitted at least 30 days before implementation of the additional requirement and the state agency must receive approval from the FNS regional office before implementation. A prototype state agency request form is attached. State agencies are not required to use the attached form. However, state agencies must include the following information when submitting a request to the FNS regional office:
- a description of the additional state agency requirement, including the affected program participants;
- a justification as to why the additional state agency requirement is necessary; and
- an assurance that the additional state agency requirement will not create barriers to participation or deny access to eligible children.
FNS regional offices will review requests from state agencies and determine whether the additional requirement meets the regulatory requirements as discussed above. FNS regional offices have the authority to reject a request, at their discretion, or to limit the approval to a specific period of time, with a maximum effective period of three years. FNS also has the authority to revoke previous approval of a request based on changes made to the program at the federal level or issues that may arise after the implementation of the additional requirement.
State agencies that have already implemented additional requirements that have not been reviewed and approved by the regional office must submit a request for review and approval. Beginning in fiscal year 2013, SFSP management evaluations will include a review of additional state agency requirements. If a state agency has implemented additional requirements that were not approved by the regional office, it will be considered a finding.
State agencies may not deny an application, disallow meals that are otherwise reimbursable, assess an overclaim, declare a sponsor seriously deficient, or terminate a sponsor based solely on the violation of an additional state agency requirement. Instead, such a violation may result in a finding, whereby the state agency then requires corrective action. As noted above, however, failure to correct the finding may not result in disallowance of the federal reimbursement or other adverse action as provided for in the federal regulations.
Some requirements outlined in program regulations, however, may be enforced at the discretion of the state agency and do not require FNS approval prior to implementation. An example of a discretionary requirement is a deadline set for less than 60 days for the final claim for reimbursement [7 CFR §225.9(d)(6)]. State agencies must disallow meals, assess an overclaim, or declare a sponsor seriously deficient, when such requirements enforced by the state agency are not met.
Some state agencies currently require sponsors to maintain production records, which include detailed information about how food was purchased and the specific amounts of foods prepared and served. This is not a federal requirement and FNS has encouraged state agencies to reconsider this requirement due to the additional administrative burden it places on sponsors and sites [SFSP 14-2011, Existing Flexibilities in the Summer Food Service Program, May 9, 2011; 7 CFR §225.16(d)].
In lieu of production records, state agencies should review menus, invoices, receipts, and other food service records to ensure meal pattern requirements are met on the day of the review and during the selected review period. State agencies may not disallow meals that are otherwise reimbursable or assess an overclaim based solely on a state requirement concerning production records.
Child Nutrition Division
The contents of this guidance document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.