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Food Stamp and Commodity Distribution Amendments of 1981

Resource type
Food Stamp and Commodity Distribution Amendments of 1981
PL 97-98, 95 Stat. 1213-1358
Dec. 22, 1981
  • Allowed recipients of SSI benefits under title XVI of the SSA or disability or blindness payments under title I, II, X, XIV, or XVI of the SSA to be separate households for FSP purposes.
  • Prohibited any portion of benefits provided under title IV-A of the SSA, to the extent it is attributable to an adjustment for work-related or child care expenses, to be considered a reimbursement for program purposes.
  • Extended FSP for one year through Sept. 30, 1982 and set a $11.3 billion appropriation ceiling for FY 1982.
  • Scheduled next TFP adjustment for Oct. 1, 1982 based on changes in costs over the 21 month period ending June 30, 1982. Future adjustments to be made annually in October. Alaska allowed separate urban and rural TFP levels, and Hawaii allowed a separate TFP level.
  • A portion of the income and assets of the sponsors of aliens are to be considered as income and assets available to the alien applicant for a period of 3 years after the individual's entry into the U.S. when determining eligibility of aliens. Sponsors of aliens as well as the aliens, themselves, are to be held responsible for overpayments to alien applicants.
  • Allowed Comptroller General of U.S. access to retailer/wholesaler information for purposes of audit and examination of such information.
  • Provided that retail food stores must display a sign providing information on how persons may report abuses they have observed in the operation of the FSP.
  • The term "banks" replaced by "financial institutions which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation".
  • Deleted sixty-day transfer of certification provision.
  • Allowed all information obtained under this Act from an applicant household to be made available, upon request, to local, state or federal law enforcement officials for the purpose of investigating an alleged violation of this Act or any regulation issued under this Act.
  • States required to match computer wage data for the purpose of determining whether income is accurately reported by food stamp applicants.
  • Required households to request the prompt restoration of any allotment which has been wrongfully denied or terminated. Allotments not to be restored for any period of time more than one year prior to the date the state agency receives such a request.
  • State agencies to request and utilize information available from SSA under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, and information available from agencies administering state unemployment compensation.
  • State agency to include, in any agreement or contract with a coupon issuer, a provision that a) the issuer shall 1) require the presenter to furnish a photo ID card at the time the ATP is presented, and 2) record on the ATP the ID number shown on the photo ID; and b) if the state agency determines that the ATP has been stolen or otherwise was not received by a household, the issuer to be liable to the state agency for the value of any coupons issued if the issuer fails to comply with the requirement of a) above. Secretary to extend food and nutrition education to reach FSP participants, using the methods and techniques developed in the expanded food and nutrition education and other programs.
  • Secretary to provide for the use of fee agents in rural Alaska to make applications available to low-income households, assist in the completion of applications, conduct required interviews, secure required verification, forward completed applications and supporting documentation to the state agency, and provide other services as required by the state agency. Fee agents not to make final decisions on household eligibility or benefit levels.
  • Issuing agents to be held liable for issuance to unqualified persons.
  • State agencies held liable for any financial losses occurring in the handling and issuing of food stamps, including losses involving failure of coupon issuers to comply with prescribed requirements. Degree of state liability in the case of losses of food stamps or ATPs resulting from mail issuance to be prescribed by the Secretary.
  • Workfare authorized nationally at the option of the states and political subdivisions.
  • All household members required to obtain Social Security numbers as a condition of eligibility.
  • Allowed information in case files to be disclosed to law enforcement officials based upon alleged violations of the program rules and regulations.
  • Required that food stamp applications include a warning notice informing applicants that their statements will be verified and that failure to report information correctly could lead to prosecution.
  • Allowed courts to add 18 months to disqualification penalties for persons found guilty of felonies or misdemeanors. Imposed differing penalties based on first or second and subsequent offenses.
  • Allowed court to permit an individual convicted of a food stamp offense to perform work to provide restitution for losses incurred as a result of the offense. Court to withhold imposition of the sentence on the condition that such individual perform the assigned work.
  • Deleted requirement for state agencies to use staffing standards, such as caseload per certification worker limitations.
  • Extended the disqualification penalty for voluntarily quitting a job to participants as well as applicants. Also annualized work registration, automatically disqualified persons who fail to comply with any work requirement, and lowered to the age of six the age of a child establishing an exemption from registration except where child care is unavailable. In this case the exemption age is raised to 12.
  • Extended the SSI cash-out project through October 1985. Also authorized AFDC cash-out pilot projects as well as pilots to study the health status of low income persons and to test and simplify application processing for SSI, AFDC and Medicaid households.
  • Secretary authorized to redefine resources with respect to vehicles.
  • Rates of improper denials and terminations to be considered in determining enhanced funding, and corrective action plans to be required for states with error rates over 5%.
  • Excluded as income payments or allowances for energy assistance if they are specifically designated as energy assistance by state or local legislative bodies and if they are calculated on a seasonal basis.
  • Allowed the Secretary to conduct an employment requirement pilot project.
Page updated: November 22, 2023