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Proposed Rule: FSP Employment and Training Program Provisions of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002

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This rulemaking proposes to amend Food Stamp Program (FSP) regulations to implement Food Stamp Employment and Training (E&T) program provisions of section 4121 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (the Farm Bill). The Department proposes to establish a reasonable formula to allocate 100 percent federal funds authorized under the Farm Bill to carry out the E&T program each fiscal year (FY).

The Department further proposes to implement the Farm Bill provisions that make available up to $20 million a year in additional unmatched Federal E&T funds for state agencies that commit to offer an education/training or workfare opportunity to every applicant and recipient who is an able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD) limited to 3 months of food stamp eligibility in a 36-month period (3-month time limit) and who would otherwise be terminated; and to eliminate the current Federal cost-sharing cap of $25 per month on the amount state agencies may reimburse E&T participants for work expenses other than dependent care.

This rulemaking also proposes to implement Farm Bill provisions that expand state flexibility in E&T program spending by repealing the requirements that state agencies earmark 80 percent of their annual 100 percent federal E&T grants to serve ABAWDs; they meet or exceed their FY 1996 state administrative spending levels to access funds made available by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (the Balanced Budget Act); and the Secretary be given the authority to establish maximum reimbursement costs of E&T program components.

03/19/2004