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Comment Request - SNAP State Agency Options for Standard Utility Allowances and Self-Employment Income

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The information collection addresses the mandatory state agency information and burden estimates associated with the following state agency options under SNAP: Establishing and reviewing SUAs and establishing methodology for offsetting cost of producing self-employment income.

SNAP regulations at 7 CFR 273.9(d)(6)(iii) allow state agencies to establish SUAs in place of the actual utility costs incurred by a household. State agencies are required to review and adjust SUAs annually to reflect changes in the costs of utilities. States must provide the amounts of the standards to FNS when they have changed, and submit methodologies used in developing and updating standards to FNS for approval when the methodologies are updated or changed.

SNAP regulations at 7 CFR 273.11(b) allow for self-employment income to be reduced by the cost of producing such income. The regulations allow the state agencies, with approval from FNS, to establish the methodology for offsetting the costs of producing self-employment income, as long as the procedure does not increase program costs. Most state agencies provide methodology information on written letterhead and typically submit it via email. Once approved by FNS, states can use these methodologies to determine net self-employment income for SNAP eligibility purposes.

This notice invites comments on the revisions made to the State Agency Options information collection for SNAP to reflect changes in the number of states electing to establish a methodology for offsetting the costs of producing self-employment income. Based on information provided in the Fourteenth Edition of the SNAP State Options Report, published on May 31, 2018, FNS proposes increasing this figure from 21 state agencies to 23 state agencies since the previous information collection renewal.

Using FNS-388 and 388A (approved under OMB Control Number 0584-0594; expiration date: 09/30/2019 (currently going through OMB approval process)), states send aggregate level data on participation, benefits issued, and other basic program information to FNS using the Food Programs Reporting System (FPRS) at https://fprs.fns.usda.gov. This collection uses information submitted in these FNS approved forms as supplemental data. However, this collection is not seeking approval for burden hours associated with the use of these forms because the burden is already accounted for under OMB Control Number 0584-0594.

FNS is currently in the process of conducting a limited number of  consultations with state agencies and FNS staff regarding the accuracy of the burden estimates in this information collection, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions that were used to estimate the burden. The inputs from those consultations will be considered, along with the public comments received in response to this notice, as FNS finalizes the burden estimate to be included in the request for OMB for approval.

Updated: 10/25/2019