Under Section 7(h)(9) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, as amended (the Act), States have the option to require that a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card contains a photo of one or more household members. The Act and existing program regulations further provide that a State that implements a photo on the EBT card shall establish procedures to ensure that any other appropriate member of the household or any authorized representative of the household may use the card.
This proposed rule would provide clear parameters on these requirements. In addition, this rule proposes to amend program regulations to codify guidance that was issued Dec. 29, 2014, requiring States that intend to implement the photo EBT card option to submit a comprehensive Implementation Plan that addresses certain operational issues to ensure State implementation is consistent with all Federal requirements and that program access is protected for participating households.
In this proposed rule, USDA would clarify that the State option to place a photo on an EBT card is a function of issuance. Pursuant to this, State agencies would be prohibited from having photo EBT card requirements affect the eligibility process. This includes ensuring that the option is appropriately implemented in a manner that does not impose additional conditions of eligibility or adversely impact the ability of appropriate household members to access the nutrition assistance they need. Failure to cooperate may result in penalties, including loss of federal financial participation. The proposed rule would also codify other program updates to reflect the current operations of the program.