Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Eligibility, Certification, and Employment and Training Provisions of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, 4677-4681 [2019-02551]

Download as PDF 4677 Rules and Regulations Federal Register Vol. 84, No. 33 Tuesday, February 19, 2019 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510. The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food and Nutrition Service 7 CFR Part 273 [FNS 2011–0008] RIN 0584–AE54 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Eligibility, Certification, and Employment and Training Provisions of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), USDA. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: This final rule amends the SNAP regulations to update procedures for accessing SNAP benefits in drug addiction or alcoholic treatment centers (DAA treatment centers) and group living arrangements (GLAs) through electronic benefit transfer (EBT). The final rule implements the changes indicated in the proposed rule, but never finalized, regarding accessing SNAP benefits in these centers, but does not incorporate any of the substantive changes in the interim final rule regarding how benefits are returned to clients departing these centers due to adverse comments received on the interim final rule. This final rule also implements provisions of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 regarding nomenclature changes to reflect the electronic issuance of benefits through EBT at these centers. RIN 0584–AE54 is a continuation of the prior rulemakings published under RIN 0584–AD87. DATES: This final rule is effective April 22, 2019. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Rose Conroy, Chief, Program Design Branch, Program Development Division, FNS, USDA, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, Virginia 22302, (703) 305–2803; MaryRose.Conroy@ fns.usda.gov. tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Feb 15, 2019 Jkt 247001 SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background On May 4, 2011, the Department published a proposed rule (76 FR 25414) that would revise 7 CFR part 273 to change the program name from the Food Stamp Program to SNAP and make other nomenclature changes in conformance with Section 4001 of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110–246). As part of these nomenclature changes, the Department also proposed to revise § 273.11(e) and (f) to remove references to paper coupons and to update the procedures for providing benefits via EBT cards to residents of drug addiction or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation programs (DAA treatment centers) and residents of group living arrangements (GLAs). Prior to the implementation of EBT, such centers were required to redeem residents’ paper coupons through authorized food stores. Under EBT systems, both DAA treatment centers and GLAs may be authorized as retailers in order to redeem benefits directly through a financial institution. The institutions may also use an aggregate EBT card, or may use individual EBT cards at authorized stores if the center is the household’s authorized representative. The Department proposed to update the regulatory description to conform with current EBT processes. Commenters responding to the nomenclature changes in the proposed rule recommended additional substantive revisions to § 273.11(e) and (f) to better protect the rights of SNAP clients who are residents of DAA treatment centers and GLAs when these clients leave these establishments. Accordingly, in addition to finalizing the nomenclature updates for those particular provisions, the final rule Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Eligibility, Certification, and Employment and Training Provisions of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, published January 6, 2017 (82 FR 2010), included an interim final rule with amendments to 7 CFR 273.11(e) and (f) to revise the procedures for when SNAP clients leave DAA treatment centers or GLAs. Specifically, the interim final rule mandated that DAA treatment centers and GLAs return EBT cards to residents with benefits pro-rated based PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 on the date of their departure, submit complete change report forms to the State agency when a resident leaves, and notify the State agency within 5 days if unable to provide the resident with their EBT card at departure. The initial comment period for this interim final rule was 60 days. Consistent with the memorandum of January 20, 2017, to the heads of executive departments and agencies from the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, entitled ‘‘Regulatory Freeze Pending Review’’, the comment period for the interim final rule was extended from ending on March 7, 2017, to April 6, 2017. The effective date for the interim final rule was delayed to June 5, 2017. Comments on the Interim Final Rule FNS received five comments in response to the interim final rule. Four of the comments were from State agencies and one comment was outside the scope of the interim final rule. All four germane comments were adverse. Commenters indicated significant logistical and operational difficulties to comply with the provisions as written and, as a result, the Department has concluded that more research and stakeholder outreach must be done in this area before requirements for these centers are finalized. The interim final rule required that when a household leaves a GLA or DAA treatment center, the GLA or DAA treatment center must return a prorated amount of the departing household’s monthly allotment back to the household’s EBT account based on the number of days in the month that the household resided at the center. Three commenters noted that GLAs and DAA treatment centers are not required by regulations to be authorized as SNAP retailers or to have EBT point-of-sale (POS) devices that would facilitate such action. As such, they expressed concern as to how centers without EBT POS devices would be able to return benefits once SNAP clients were no longer residents. One of these commenters, a State agency, indicated that while it supported the return of pro-rated benefits to households, the State had no DAA treatment centers or GLAs authorized as retailers in the State and thus there would be no functional way to implement the rule as written. Another commenter noted that proration is not an automatic function E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES 4678 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 33 / Tuesday, February 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations for EBT systems and, therefore, proration would have to be manually completed by even those GLAs or DAA treatment centers with POS devices, which could potentially be error-prone. The Department acknowledges that the interim final rule does not accurately reflect the operationalization of benefit redemptions in GLAs and DAA treatment centers that are not authorized retailers, and would cause undue hardship in requiring every GLA and DAA treatment center to become an authorized retailer. The Department acknowledges it was not its intent to require all GLAs and DAA treatment centers to become authorized SNAP retailers, but that the interim final rule as written would have required this of the centers in order for them to meet the requirements outlined in the rule in a practical manner. Due to the negative response, the Department is not finalizing the substantive amendments contained in the interim final rule. treatment centers that are authorized retailers as well as those that are not authorized retailers to better understand current operational procedures, and work with all stakeholders to determine what appropriate changes should be made in rulemaking based on existing processes and technology. The Department appreciates the concerns for client access and GLA and DAA treatment center responsibility raised by commenters in both the proposed and interim final rules, and will take them into consideration while conducting its review of GLA and DAA treatment center procedures. During this time, GLA and DAA treatment centers will continue to follow the procedures as outlined in this final rule and residents who depart these facilities will continue to receive some benefits depending on the time of month of their departure. Changes to § 273.11 in the Final Rule This rule only finalizes the statutorily mandated nomenclature changes and procedures for § 273.11(e) and (f), as well as the paragraph removals, redesignations and technical revisions as outlined in the department’s proposed rule issued on May 4, 2011. The Department received no comments that addressed these changes alone. The changes to procedures in § 273.11(e) and (f) are codifying existing policy. The Department is also making changes throughout § 273.11(e) to ensure consistent nomenclature in referring to DAA treatment centers, removing references to ‘‘DAA centers’’ or ‘‘DAAs’’ and replacing these with ‘‘DAA treatment centers’’, and clarifying that ‘‘DAA treatment centers’’ refers to publicly operated or private non-profit drug addict or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation programs. The proposed rule’s paragraph removals, redesignations and revisions that were substantially unchanged and codified by the interim final rule are not amended further here. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. This final rule has been determined to be significant and was reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget in conformance with Executive Order 12866. Future Steps and Guidance on This Provision The Department still intends to further assess the operations of GLAs and DAA treatment centers and remains interested in enhancing protections when clients leave a GLA or DAA treatment center. However, the Department intends to consult with State agencies and other stakeholders in order to determine the most appropriate changes for future rulemaking on this topic. The Department will conduct a holistic review of GLAs and DAA VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Feb 15, 2019 Jkt 247001 Procedural Matters Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 Executive Orders 13771 Executive Order 13771 directs agencies to reduce regulation and control regulatory costs and provides that the cost of planned regulations be prudently managed and controlled through a budgeting process. FNS considers this rule to be an Executive Order 13771 deregulatory action. Regulatory Impact Analysis A Regulatory Impact Analysis must be prepared for rules with economically significant effects ($100 million or more in any one year). USDA does not anticipate that this final rule is likely to have an economic impact of $100 million or more in any one year, and therefore, does not meet the definition of ‘‘economically significant’’ under Executive Order 12866. Provisions of this rule do not affect the level of benefits paid to SNAP participants who PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 reside in these facilities. The Department estimates that removing the substantive provisions of the interim final rule will result in a savings of $2.6 million annually and $13 million over five years in administrative costs to federal and State governments and DAA treatment centers and GLAs operating as authorized SNAP retailers. The interim final rule provisions would have inadvertently required additional DAA treatment centers and GLAs to become SNAP-authorized retailers. Under provisions of the Food and Nutrition Act, operators of GLAs and DAAs that would have become newly-authorized SNAP retailers under the interim final rule provisions would be eligible for free EBT-only point-ofsale (POS) devices. Estimated cost of providing equipment to newly authorized DAA treatment centers and GLAs is $540 per year per retailer; this cost would be split evenly between federal and State governments. The Department estimates that an additional 1,900 DAA treatment centers or GLAs would have become newly-authorized under the interim final rule provisions, so the total cost of providing this equipment to newly-authorized GLAs and DAAs would have been approximately $1 million per year. In addition, DAA treatment centers and GLAs will no longer incur costs related to prorating benefits and submitting reports to State agencies when residents leave facilities. The Department estimates that removing this requirement will save GLAs and DAAs approximately $1.6 million annually. There currently are approximately 1,500 DAA treatment centers and GLAs that are authorized SNAP retailers. As noted above, the Department estimates that an additional 1,900 DAA treatment centers and GLAs would have become authorized retailers under the interim final rule provisions, for a total of about 3,400 (2,100 DAAs and 1,300 GLAs). Based on annual redemptions of approximately $120 million, the Department estimates the average currently-authorized DAA serves about 38 SNAP participants per month and the average authorized GLA serves about 99 SNAP participants per month.1 Assuming the average length of stay for residential treatment facilities is 90 days and the average length of stay for GLAs is one year, each facility would have 1 In 2016, there were 945 authorized DAAs (who redeemed an average of $4,185 monthly) and 577 authorized GLAs (who redeemed an average of $10,828 monthly). To estimate the number of residents per facility, the monthly redemptions were divided by the fiscal year 2016 average perperson benefit for a household receiving Supplemental Security Income ($109.49). E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 33 / Tuesday, February 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations been required to prorate benefits and report to the State agency approximately 148 times per year (DAAs) or 99 times per year (GLAs) under the interim final rule provisions. The Department assumes each proration/report would take .25 hours at a mean wage of $14.65 for a health care support worker, or $3.66 per occurrence. Regulatory Flexibility Act The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601–612) requires Agencies to analyze the impact of rulemaking on small entities and consider alternatives that would minimize any significant impacts on a substantial number of small entities. Pursuant to that review, the Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service certifies that this final rule does not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities including DAA treatment centers and GLAs. State and local human service agencies will be the most affected to the extent that they administer SNAP. The provisions of this final rule are implemented through State agencies which are not small entities as defined by the Regulatory Flexibility Act. tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES Unfunded Mandates Reform Act Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), Public Law 104–4, requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their regulatory actions on State, local and tribal governments and the private sector. Under section 202 of the UMRA, the Department generally must prepare a written statement, including a cost benefit analysis, for proposed and final rules with ‘‘Federal mandates’’ that may result in expenditures by State, local or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year. When such a statement is needed for a rule, Section 205 of the UMRA generally requires the Department to identify and consider a reasonable number of regulatory alternatives and adopt the most cost effective or least burdensome alternative that achieves the objectives of the rule. This final rule does not contain Federal mandates (under the regulatory provisions of Title II of the UMRA) for State, local and tribal governments or the private sector of $100 million or more in any one year. Thus, the rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 and 205 of the UMRA. Executive Order 12372 SNAP is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance under No. 10.561. For the reasons set forth in the final rule, Department of Agriculture Programs and Activities Covered Under VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Feb 15, 2019 Jkt 247001 Executive Order 12372 (48 FR 29114), the Program is included in the scope of Executive Order 12372, which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials. Federalism Summary Impact Statement Executive Order 13132 requires Federal agencies to consider the impact of their regulatory actions on State and local governments. Where such actions have federalism implications, agencies are directed to provide a statement for inclusion in the preamble to the regulations describing the agency’s considerations in terms of the three categories called for under Section 6(b)(2)(B) of Executive Order 13132. The Department has considered the impact of this rule on State and local governments and has determined that this rule does not have federalism implications. Therefore, under section 6(b) of the Executive Order, a federalism summary is not required. Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have preemptive effect with respect to any State or local laws, regulations or policies which conflict with its provisions or which would otherwise impede its full and timely implementation. This rule is not intended to have retroactive effect unless so specified in the Effective Dates section of the final rule. Prior to any judicial challenge to the provisions of the final rule, all applicable administrative procedures must be exhausted. Civil Rights Impact Analysis FNS has reviewed this final rule in accordance with USDA Regulation 4300–4, ‘‘Civil Rights Impact Analysis,’’ to identify any major civil rights impacts the rule might have on program participants on the basis of age, race, color, national origin, sex or disability. After a careful review of the rule’s intent and provisions, FNS has determined that this rule is not expected to affect the participation of protected individuals in SNAP. Further, FNS specifically prohibits the State and local government agencies that administer the program from engaging in discriminatory actions. Discrimination in any aspect of program administration is prohibited by SNAP regulations, the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Title VI of PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 4679 the Civil Rights Act of 1964. State agencies must comply with these requirements and the regulations at 7 CFR 272.6. Executive Order 13175 This rule has been reviewed in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments. Executive Order 13175 requires Federal agencies to consult and coordinate with tribes on a governmentto-government basis on policies that have tribal implications, including regulations, legislative comments or proposed legislation, and other policy statements or actions that have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. FNS has assessed the impact of this rule on Indian tribes and determined that this rule does not, to its knowledge, have tribal implications that require tribal consultation under Executive Order 13175. If a Tribe requests consultation, the FNS will work with the Office of Tribal Relations to ensure meaningful consultation is provided where changes, additions and modifications identified herein are not expressly mandated by Congress. Currently, FNS provides regularly scheduled quarterly information sessions as a venue for collaborative conversations with Tribal officials or their designees. Reports from these information sessions are put on the USDA annual reporting on Tribal consultation and collaboration. FNS received no comments with Indian Tribes on either the proposed rule or the interim final rule that related to these provisions. Paperwork Reduction Act The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chap. 35; 5 CFR 1320) requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve all collections of information by a Federal agency before they can be implemented. Respondents are not required to respond to any collection of information unless it displays a current valid OMB control number. This rule does not contain information collection requirements subject to approval by the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1994. E-Government Act Compliance The Department is committed to complying with the E-Government Act E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 4680 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 33 / Tuesday, February 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations of 2002, Public Law 107–347, to promote the use of the internet and other information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes. List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 273 Administrative practice and procedure, Food stamps, Fraud, Grant programs-social programs, Income taxes, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Accordingly, 7 CFR part 273 is amended as follows: PART 273—CERTIFICATION OF ELIGIBLE HOUSEHOLDS 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 273 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 7 U.S.C. 2011–2036. 2. In § 273.11: a. Revise paragraph (e)(1); b. Amend paragraph (e)(2)(i) by removing the words ‘‘DAA center’’ and adding in their place the words ‘‘DAA treatment center’’; ■ c. Amend paragraph (e)(2)(ii) by removing the words ‘‘DAA centers’’ and adding in their place the words ‘‘DAA treatment centers’’; ■ d. Amend paragraph (e)(2)(iii) by removing the words ‘‘treatment center’’ and adding in their place the words ‘‘DAA treatment center’’; ■ e. Amend paragraph (e)(3) by removing the words ‘‘DAA center’’ and adding in their place the words ‘‘DAA treatment center’’; ■ f. Amend paragraph (e)(4) by removing the words ‘‘DAA centers’’ and adding in their place the words ‘‘DAA treatment centers’’; ■ g. Revise paragraphs (e)(5) and (6); ■ h. Remove the last sentence of paragraph (f)(4); ■ i. Revise paragraph (f)(5); ■ j. Redesignate paragraphs (f)(6) and (7) as paragraphs (f)(7) and (8); ■ k. Add a new paragraph (f)(6); ■ l. Amend newly redesignated paragraph (f)(7) by removing the words ‘‘drug and alcoholic treatment centers in paragraphs (e)(7) and (e)(8)’’ and adding in their place the words ‘‘DAA treatment centers in paragraphs (e)(7) and (8)’’; and ■ m. Revise the first sentence of newly redesignated paragraph (f)(8). The revisions and additions read as follows: tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES ■ ■ ■ § 273.11 Action on households with special circumstances. * * * * * (e) * * * (1) Narcotic addicts or alcoholics who regularly participate in VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Feb 15, 2019 Jkt 247001 publicly operated or private non-profit drug addict or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation programs (DAA treatment centers) on a resident basis may voluntarily apply for SNAP. Applications must be made through an authorized representative who is employed by the DAA treatment center and designated by the center for that purpose. The State agency may require the household to designate the DAA treatment center as its authorized representative for the purpose of receiving and using an allotment on behalf of the household. Residents must be certified as one-person households unless their children are living with them, in which case their children must be included in the household with the parent. * * * * * (5) DAA treatment centers may redeem benefits in various ways depending on the State’s EBT system design. The designs may include DAA treatment center use of individual household EBT cards at authorized stores, authorization of DAA treatment centers as retailers with EBT access via POS at the center, DAA treatment center use of a center EBT card that is an aggregate of individual household benefits, and other designs. Regardless of the process elected, the State must ensure that the EBT design or DAA treatment center procedures prohibit the DAA treatment center from obtaining more than one-half of the household’s allotment prior to the 16th of the month or permit the return of benefits to the household’s EBT account through a refund, transfer, or other means. Guidelines for approval of EBT systems are contained in part 274 of this chapter. (6) When a household leaves the DAA treatment center, the center must perform the following: (i) Notify the State agency. If possible, the center must provide the household with a change report form to report to the State agency the household’s new address and other circumstances after leaving the center and must advise the household to return the form to the appropriate office of the State agency within 10 days. After the household leaves the DAA treatment center, the center can no longer act as the household’s authorized representative for certification purposes or for obtaining or using benefits. (ii) Provide the household with its EBT card if it was in the possession of the DAA treatment center. The DAA treatment center must return to the State agency any EBT card not provided to departing residents by the end of each month. PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 (iii) If no benefits have been spent on behalf of the individual household, the center must return the full value of any benefits already debited from the household’s current monthly allotment back into the household’s EBT account at the time the household leaves the center. (iv) If the benefits have already been debited from the EBT account and any portion spent on behalf of the household, the following procedures must be followed. (A) If the household leaves prior to the 16th day of the month, the center must ensure that the household has onehalf of its monthly benefit allotment remaining in its EBT account unless the State agency issues semi-monthly allotments and the second half has not been posted yet. (B) If the household leaves on or after the 16th day of the month, the State agency, at its option, may require the center to give the household a portion of its allotment. If the center is authorized as a retailer, the State agency may require the center to provide a refund for that amount back to the household’s EBT account at the time that the household leaves the center. Under an EBT system where the center has an aggregate EBT card, the State agency may, but is not required to, transfer a portion of the household’s monthly allotment from a center’s EBT account back to the household’s EBT account. In either case, the household, not the center, must be allowed to have sole access to any benefits remaining in the household’s EBT account at the time the household leaves the center. (v) If the household has already left the DAA treatment center, and as a result, the DAA treatment center is unable to return the benefits in accordance with this paragraph (e)(6), the DAA treatment center must advise the State agency, and the State agency must effect the return instead. These procedures are applicable at any time during the month. * * * * * (f) * * * (5) When the household leaves the facility, the GLA, either acting as an authorized representative or retaining use of the EBT card and benefits on behalf of the residents (regardless of the method of application), shall return the EBT card (if applicable) to the household. The household, not the GLA, shall have sole access to any benefits remaining in the household’s EBT account at the time the household leaves the facility. The State agency must ensure that the EBT design or procedures for GLAs permit the GLA to E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 33 / Tuesday, February 19, 2019 / Rules and Regulations return unused benefits to the household through a refund, transfer, or other means. (6) If, at the time the household leaves, no benefits have been spent on behalf of that individual household, the facility must return the full value of any benefits already debited from the household’s current monthly allotment back into the household’s EBT account. These procedures are applicable at any time during the month. However, if the facility has already debited benefits and spent any portion of them on behalf of the individual, the facility shall do the following: (i) If the household leaves the GLA prior to the 16th day of the month, the facility shall provide the household with its EBT card (if applicable) and one-half of its monthly benefit allotment. Where a group of residents has been certified as one household and a member of the household leaves the center: (A) The facility shall return a pro rata share of one-half of the household’s benefit allotment to the EBT account and advise the State agency that the individual is entitled to that pro rata share; and (B) The State agency shall create a new EBT account for the individual, issue a new EBT card and transfer the pro rata share from the original household’s EBT account to the departing individual’s EBT account. The facility will instruct the individual on how to obtain the new EBT card based on the State agency’s card issuance procedures. (ii) If the household or an individual member of the group household leaves on or after the 16th day of the month and the benefits have already been debited and used, the household or individual does not receive any benefits. (iii) The GLA shall return to the State agency any EBT cards not provided to departing residents at the end of each month. Also, if the household has already left the facility and as a result, the facility is unable to perform the refund or transfer in accordance with this paragraph (f)(5), the facility must advise the State agency, and the State agency must effect the return or transfer instead. (iv) Once the resident leaves, the GLA no longer acts as his/her authorized representative. The GLA, if possible, shall provide the household with a change report form to report to the State agency the individual’s new address and other circumstances after leaving the GLA and shall advise the household to return the form to the appropriate VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Feb 15, 2019 Jkt 247001 office of the State agency within 10 days. * * * * * (8) If the residents are certified on their own behalf, the benefits may either be debited by the GLA to be used to purchase meals served either communally or individually to eligible residents or retained by the residents and used to purchase and prepare food for their own consumption. * * * * * * * * Dated: February 12, 2019. Brandon Lipps, Acting Deputy Under Secretary, Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. [FR Doc. 2019–02551 Filed 2–15–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–30–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 953 [Doc. No. AMS–SC–18–0037; SC18–953–1 FR] Irish Potatoes Grown in Southeastern States; Termination of Marketing Order 953 Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Final rule; termination of order. AGENCY: This final rule terminates the Federal marketing order regulating the handling of Irish potatoes grown in Southeastern states (Order). The Order has been suspended, at the industry’s recommendation, since 2011. Because the industry has not petitioned to have the Order reactivated in accordance with the terms of the suspension, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is terminating the Order. DATES: Effective March 21, 2019. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Geronimo Quinones, Marketing Specialist, or Patty Bennett, Director, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA; 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Stop 0237, Washington, DC 20250–0237; Telephone: (202) 720– 2491, Fax: (202) 720–8938, or Email: Geronimo.Quinones@usda.gov or Patty.Bennett@usda.gov. Small businesses may request information on complying with this regulation by contacting Richard Lower, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250–0237; Telephone: (202) 720– SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 4681 2491, Fax: (202) 720–8938, or Email: Richard.Lower@usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This action is governed by section 608c(16)(A) of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601–674), hereinafter referred to as the ‘‘Act,’’ and Marketing Agreement 104 and Marketing Order 953 (7 CFR part 953), referred to as the ‘‘Order,’’ effective under the Act. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this final rule in conformance with Executive Orders 13563 and 13175. This action falls within a category of regulatory actions that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) exempted from Executive Order 12866 review. Additionally, because this final rule does not meet the definition of a significant regulatory action, it does not trigger the requirements contained in Executive Order 13771. See OMB’s Memorandum titled ‘‘Interim Guidance Implementing Section 2 of the Executive Order of January 30, 2017, titled ‘Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs’ ’’ (February 2, 2017). This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This final rule is not intended to have retroactive effect. The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted before parties may file suit in court. Under section 608c(15)(A) of the Act, any handler subject to an order may file with USDA a petition stating that the order, any provision of the order, or any obligation imposed in connection with the order is not in accordance with law and request a modification of the order or to be exempted therefrom. A handler is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. After the hearing, USDA would rule on the petition. The Act provides that the district court of the United States in any district in which the handler is an inhabitant, or has his or her principal place of business, has jurisdiction to review USDA’s ruling on the petition, provided an action is filed not later than 20 days after the date of the entry of the ruling. This final rule terminates the Order that authorizes regulation of the handling of Irish potatoes grown in designated counties of Virginia and North Carolina. The Order has been suspended for approximately seven years, at the industry’s recommendation, and the industry has not expressed interest in reactivating the Order. Section 953.66 provides, in pertinent part, that USDA terminate or suspend any or all provisions of the Order when E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1

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[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 33 (Tuesday, February 19, 2019)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 4677-4681]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-02551]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 

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Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 33 / Tuesday, February 19, 2019 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 4677]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food and Nutrition Service

7 CFR Part 273

[FNS 2011-0008]
RIN 0584-AE54


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Eligibility, 
Certification, and Employment and Training Provisions of the Food, 
Conservation and Energy Act of 2008

AGENCY: Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), USDA.

ACTION: Final rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This final rule amends the SNAP regulations to update 
procedures for accessing SNAP benefits in drug addiction or alcoholic 
treatment centers (DAA treatment centers) and group living arrangements 
(GLAs) through electronic benefit transfer (EBT). The final rule 
implements the changes indicated in the proposed rule, but never 
finalized, regarding accessing SNAP benefits in these centers, but does 
not incorporate any of the substantive changes in the interim final 
rule regarding how benefits are returned to clients departing these 
centers due to adverse comments received on the interim final rule. 
This final rule also implements provisions of the Food, Conservation 
and Energy Act of 2008 regarding nomenclature changes to reflect the 
electronic issuance of benefits through EBT at these centers. RIN 0584-
AE54 is a continuation of the prior rulemakings published under RIN 
0584-AD87.

DATES: This final rule is effective April 22, 2019.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Rose Conroy, Chief, Program 
Design Branch, Program Development Division, FNS, USDA, 3101 Park 
Center Drive, Alexandria, Virginia 22302, (703) 305-2803; 
MaryRose.Conroy@fns.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    On May 4, 2011, the Department published a proposed rule (76 FR 
25414) that would revise 7 CFR part 273 to change the program name from 
the Food Stamp Program to SNAP and make other nomenclature changes in 
conformance with Section 4001 of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act 
of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-246). As part of these nomenclature changes, the 
Department also proposed to revise[thinsp]Sec.  273.11(e) and (f) to 
remove references to paper coupons and to update the procedures for 
providing benefits via EBT cards to residents of drug addiction or 
alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation programs (DAA treatment centers) 
and residents of group living arrangements (GLAs). Prior to the 
implementation of EBT, such centers were required to redeem residents' 
paper coupons through authorized food stores. Under EBT systems, both 
DAA treatment centers and GLAs may be authorized as retailers in order 
to redeem benefits directly through a financial institution. The 
institutions may also use an aggregate EBT card, or may use individual 
EBT cards at authorized stores if the center is the household's 
authorized representative. The Department proposed to update the 
regulatory description to conform with current EBT processes.
    Commenters responding to the nomenclature changes in the proposed 
rule recommended additional substantive revisions to Sec.  273.11(e) 
and (f) to better protect the rights of SNAP clients who are residents 
of DAA treatment centers and GLAs when these clients leave these 
establishments. Accordingly, in addition to finalizing the nomenclature 
updates for those particular provisions, the final rule Supplemental 
Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Eligibility, Certification, and 
Employment and Training Provisions of the Food, Conservation and Energy 
Act of 2008, published January 6, 2017 (82 FR 2010), included an 
interim final rule with amendments to 7 CFR 273.11(e) and (f) to revise 
the procedures for when SNAP clients leave DAA treatment centers or 
GLAs. Specifically, the interim final rule mandated that DAA treatment 
centers and GLAs return EBT cards to residents with benefits pro-rated 
based on the date of their departure, submit complete change report 
forms to the State agency when a resident leaves, and notify the State 
agency within 5 days if unable to provide the resident with their EBT 
card at departure.
    The initial comment period for this interim final rule was 60 days. 
Consistent with the memorandum of January 20, 2017, to the heads of 
executive departments and agencies from the Assistant to the President 
and Chief of Staff, entitled ``Regulatory Freeze Pending Review'', the 
comment period for the interim final rule was extended from ending on 
March 7, 2017, to April 6, 2017. The effective date for the interim 
final rule was delayed to June 5, 2017.

Comments on the Interim Final Rule

    FNS received five comments in response to the interim final rule. 
Four of the comments were from State agencies and one comment was 
outside the scope of the interim final rule. All four germane comments 
were adverse.
    Commenters indicated significant logistical and operational 
difficulties to comply with the provisions as written and, as a result, 
the Department has concluded that more research and stakeholder 
outreach must be done in this area before requirements for these 
centers are finalized.
    The interim final rule required that when a household leaves a GLA 
or DAA treatment center, the GLA or DAA treatment center must return a 
prorated amount of the departing household's monthly allotment back to 
the household's EBT account based on the number of days in the month 
that the household resided at the center. Three commenters noted that 
GLAs and DAA treatment centers are not required by regulations to be 
authorized as SNAP retailers or to have EBT point-of-sale (POS) devices 
that would facilitate such action. As such, they expressed concern as 
to how centers without EBT POS devices would be able to return benefits 
once SNAP clients were no longer residents. One of these commenters, a 
State agency, indicated that while it supported the return of pro-rated 
benefits to households, the State had no DAA treatment centers or GLAs 
authorized as retailers in the State and thus there would be no 
functional way to implement the rule as written. Another commenter 
noted that proration is not an automatic function

[[Page 4678]]

for EBT systems and, therefore, proration would have to be manually 
completed by even those GLAs or DAA treatment centers with POS devices, 
which could potentially be error-prone.
    The Department acknowledges that the interim final rule does not 
accurately reflect the operationalization of benefit redemptions in 
GLAs and DAA treatment centers that are not authorized retailers, and 
would cause undue hardship in requiring every GLA and DAA treatment 
center to become an authorized retailer. The Department acknowledges it 
was not its intent to require all GLAs and DAA treatment centers to 
become authorized SNAP retailers, but that the interim final rule as 
written would have required this of the centers in order for them to 
meet the requirements outlined in the rule in a practical manner. Due 
to the negative response, the Department is not finalizing the 
substantive amendments contained in the interim final rule.

Changes to Sec.  273.11 in the Final Rule

    This rule only finalizes the statutorily mandated nomenclature 
changes and procedures for Sec.  273.11(e) and (f), as well as the 
paragraph removals, redesignations and technical revisions as outlined 
in the department's proposed rule issued on May 4, 2011. The Department 
received no comments that addressed these changes alone. The changes to 
procedures in Sec.  273.11(e) and (f) are codifying existing policy. 
The Department is also making changes throughout Sec.  273.11(e) to 
ensure consistent nomenclature in referring to DAA treatment centers, 
removing references to ``DAA centers'' or ``DAAs'' and replacing these 
with ``DAA treatment centers'', and clarifying that ``DAA treatment 
centers'' refers to publicly operated or private non-profit drug addict 
or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation programs. The proposed rule's 
paragraph removals, redesignations and revisions that were 
substantially unchanged and codified by the interim final rule are not 
amended further here.

Future Steps and Guidance on This Provision

    The Department still intends to further assess the operations of 
GLAs and DAA treatment centers and remains interested in enhancing 
protections when clients leave a GLA or DAA treatment center. However, 
the Department intends to consult with State agencies and other 
stakeholders in order to determine the most appropriate changes for 
future rulemaking on this topic. The Department will conduct a holistic 
review of GLAs and DAA treatment centers that are authorized retailers 
as well as those that are not authorized retailers to better understand 
current operational procedures, and work with all stakeholders to 
determine what appropriate changes should be made in rulemaking based 
on existing processes and technology. The Department appreciates the 
concerns for client access and GLA and DAA treatment center 
responsibility raised by commenters in both the proposed and interim 
final rules, and will take them into consideration while conducting its 
review of GLA and DAA treatment center procedures. During this time, 
GLA and DAA treatment centers will continue to follow the procedures as 
outlined in this final rule and residents who depart these facilities 
will continue to receive some benefits depending on the time of month 
of their departure.

Procedural Matters

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all 
costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if 
regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize 
net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public 
health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive 
Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and 
benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. 
This final rule has been determined to be significant and was reviewed 
by the Office of Management and Budget in conformance with Executive 
Order 12866.

Executive Orders 13771

    Executive Order 13771 directs agencies to reduce regulation and 
control regulatory costs and provides that the cost of planned 
regulations be prudently managed and controlled through a budgeting 
process. FNS considers this rule to be an Executive Order 13771 
deregulatory action.

Regulatory Impact Analysis

    A Regulatory Impact Analysis must be prepared for rules with 
economically significant effects ($100 million or more in any one 
year). USDA does not anticipate that this final rule is likely to have 
an economic impact of $100 million or more in any one year, and 
therefore, does not meet the definition of ``economically significant'' 
under Executive Order 12866. Provisions of this rule do not affect the 
level of benefits paid to SNAP participants who reside in these 
facilities. The Department estimates that removing the substantive 
provisions of the interim final rule will result in a savings of $2.6 
million annually and $13 million over five years in administrative 
costs to federal and State governments and DAA treatment centers and 
GLAs operating as authorized SNAP retailers.
    The interim final rule provisions would have inadvertently required 
additional DAA treatment centers and GLAs to become SNAP-authorized 
retailers. Under provisions of the Food and Nutrition Act, operators of 
GLAs and DAAs that would have become newly-authorized SNAP retailers 
under the interim final rule provisions would be eligible for free EBT-
only point-of-sale (POS) devices. Estimated cost of providing equipment 
to newly authorized DAA treatment centers and GLAs is $540 per year per 
retailer; this cost would be split evenly between federal and State 
governments. The Department estimates that an additional 1,900 DAA 
treatment centers or GLAs would have become newly-authorized under the 
interim final rule provisions, so the total cost of providing this 
equipment to newly-authorized GLAs and DAAs would have been 
approximately $1 million per year.
    In addition, DAA treatment centers and GLAs will no longer incur 
costs related to prorating benefits and submitting reports to State 
agencies when residents leave facilities. The Department estimates that 
removing this requirement will save GLAs and DAAs approximately $1.6 
million annually. There currently are approximately 1,500 DAA treatment 
centers and GLAs that are authorized SNAP retailers. As noted above, 
the Department estimates that an additional 1,900 DAA treatment centers 
and GLAs would have become authorized retailers under the interim final 
rule provisions, for a total of about 3,400 (2,100 DAAs and 1,300 
GLAs).
    Based on annual redemptions of approximately $120 million, the 
Department estimates the average currently-authorized DAA serves about 
38 SNAP participants per month and the average authorized GLA serves 
about 99 SNAP participants per month.\1\ Assuming the average length of 
stay for residential treatment facilities is 90 days and the average 
length of stay for GLAs is one year, each facility would have

[[Page 4679]]

been required to prorate benefits and report to the State agency 
approximately 148 times per year (DAAs) or 99 times per year (GLAs) 
under the interim final rule provisions. The Department assumes each 
proration/report would take .25 hours at a mean wage of $14.65 for a 
health care support worker, or $3.66 per occurrence.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ In 2016, there were 945 authorized DAAs (who redeemed an 
average of $4,185 monthly) and 577 authorized GLAs (who redeemed an 
average of $10,828 monthly). To estimate the number of residents per 
facility, the monthly redemptions were divided by the fiscal year 
2016 average per-person benefit for a household receiving 
Supplemental Security Income ($109.49).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612) requires Agencies 
to analyze the impact of rulemaking on small entities and consider 
alternatives that would minimize any significant impacts on a 
substantial number of small entities. Pursuant to that review, the 
Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service certifies that this 
final rule does not have a significant impact on a substantial number 
of small entities including DAA treatment centers and GLAs. State and 
local human service agencies will be the most affected to the extent 
that they administer SNAP. The provisions of this final rule are 
implemented through State agencies which are not small entities as 
defined by the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), Public 
Law 104-4, requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their 
regulatory actions on State, local and tribal governments and the 
private sector. Under section 202 of the UMRA, the Department generally 
must prepare a written statement, including a cost benefit analysis, 
for proposed and final rules with ``Federal mandates'' that may result 
in expenditures by State, local or tribal governments, in the 
aggregate, or the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one 
year. When such a statement is needed for a rule, Section 205 of the 
UMRA generally requires the Department to identify and consider a 
reasonable number of regulatory alternatives and adopt the most cost 
effective or least burdensome alternative that achieves the objectives 
of the rule.
    This final rule does not contain Federal mandates (under the 
regulatory provisions of Title II of the UMRA) for State, local and 
tribal governments or the private sector of $100 million or more in any 
one year. Thus, the rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 
202 and 205 of the UMRA.

Executive Order 12372

    SNAP is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance under 
No. 10.561. For the reasons set forth in the final rule, Department of 
Agriculture Programs and Activities Covered Under Executive Order 12372 
(48 FR 29114), the Program is included in the scope of Executive Order 
12372, which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and 
local officials.

Federalism Summary Impact Statement

    Executive Order 13132 requires Federal agencies to consider the 
impact of their regulatory actions on State and local governments. 
Where such actions have federalism implications, agencies are directed 
to provide a statement for inclusion in the preamble to the regulations 
describing the agency's considerations in terms of the three categories 
called for under Section 6(b)(2)(B) of Executive Order 13132. The 
Department has considered the impact of this rule on State and local 
governments and has determined that this rule does not have federalism 
implications. Therefore, under section 6(b) of the Executive Order, a 
federalism summary is not required.

Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform

    This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform. This rule is not intended to have preemptive 
effect with respect to any State or local laws, regulations or policies 
which conflict with its provisions or which would otherwise impede its 
full and timely implementation. This rule is not intended to have 
retroactive effect unless so specified in the Effective Dates section 
of the final rule. Prior to any judicial challenge to the provisions of 
the final rule, all applicable administrative procedures must be 
exhausted.

Civil Rights Impact Analysis

    FNS has reviewed this final rule in accordance with USDA Regulation 
4300-4, ``Civil Rights Impact Analysis,'' to identify any major civil 
rights impacts the rule might have on program participants on the basis 
of age, race, color, national origin, sex or disability. After a 
careful review of the rule's intent and provisions, FNS has determined 
that this rule is not expected to affect the participation of protected 
individuals in SNAP.
    Further, FNS specifically prohibits the State and local government 
agencies that administer the program from engaging in discriminatory 
actions. Discrimination in any aspect of program administration is 
prohibited by SNAP regulations, the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, the 
Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 
of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Title VI of 
the Civil Rights Act of 1964. State agencies must comply with these 
requirements and the regulations at 7 CFR 272.6.

Executive Order 13175

    This rule has been reviewed in accordance with the requirements of 
Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal 
Governments. Executive Order 13175 requires Federal agencies to consult 
and coordinate with tribes on a government-to-government basis on 
policies that have tribal implications, including regulations, 
legislative comments or proposed legislation, and other policy 
statements or actions that have substantial direct effects on one or 
more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government 
and Indian tribes or on the distribution of power and responsibilities 
between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.
    FNS has assessed the impact of this rule on Indian tribes and 
determined that this rule does not, to its knowledge, have tribal 
implications that require tribal consultation under Executive Order 
13175. If a Tribe requests consultation, the FNS will work with the 
Office of Tribal Relations to ensure meaningful consultation is 
provided where changes, additions and modifications identified herein 
are not expressly mandated by Congress.
    Currently, FNS provides regularly scheduled quarterly information 
sessions as a venue for collaborative conversations with Tribal 
officials or their designees. Reports from these information sessions 
are put on the USDA annual reporting on Tribal consultation and 
collaboration. FNS received no comments with Indian Tribes on either 
the proposed rule or the interim final rule that related to these 
provisions.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chap. 35; 5 CFR 
1320) requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve all 
collections of information by a Federal agency before they can be 
implemented. Respondents are not required to respond to any collection 
of information unless it displays a current valid OMB control number.
    This rule does not contain information collection requirements 
subject to approval by the Office of Management and Budget under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1994.

E-Government Act Compliance

    The Department is committed to complying with the E-Government Act

[[Page 4680]]

of 2002, Public Law 107-347, to promote the use of the internet and 
other information technologies to provide increased opportunities for 
citizen access to Government information and services, and for other 
purposes.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 273

    Administrative practice and procedure, Food stamps, Fraud, Grant 
programs-social programs, Income taxes, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

    Accordingly, 7 CFR part 273 is amended as follows:

PART 273--CERTIFICATION OF ELIGIBLE HOUSEHOLDS

0
1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 273 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 2011-2036.


0
2. In Sec.  273.11:
0
a. Revise paragraph (e)(1);
0
b. Amend paragraph (e)(2)(i) by removing the words ``DAA center'' and 
adding in their place the words ``DAA treatment center'';
0
c. Amend paragraph (e)(2)(ii) by removing the words ``DAA centers'' and 
adding in their place the words ``DAA treatment centers'';
0
d. Amend paragraph (e)(2)(iii) by removing the words ``treatment 
center'' and adding in their place the words ``DAA treatment center'';
0
e. Amend paragraph (e)(3) by removing the words ``DAA center'' and 
adding in their place the words ``DAA treatment center'';
0
f. Amend paragraph (e)(4) by removing the words ``DAA centers'' and 
adding in their place the words ``DAA treatment centers'';
0
g. Revise paragraphs (e)(5) and (6);
0
h. Remove the last sentence of paragraph (f)(4);
0
i. Revise paragraph (f)(5);
0
j. Redesignate paragraphs (f)(6) and (7) as paragraphs (f)(7) and (8);
0
k. Add a new paragraph (f)(6);
0
l. Amend newly redesignated paragraph (f)(7) by removing the words 
``drug and alcoholic treatment centers in paragraphs (e)(7) and 
(e)(8)'' and adding in their place the words ``DAA treatment centers in 
paragraphs (e)(7) and (8)''; and
0
m. Revise the first sentence of newly redesignated paragraph (f)(8).
    The revisions and additions read as follows:


Sec.  273.11  Action on households with special circumstances.

* * * * *
    (e) * * * (1) Narcotic addicts or alcoholics who regularly 
participate in publicly operated or private non-profit drug addict or 
alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation programs (DAA treatment centers) 
on a resident basis may voluntarily apply for SNAP. Applications must 
be made through an authorized representative who is employed by the DAA 
treatment center and designated by the center for that purpose. The 
State agency may require the household to designate the DAA treatment 
center as its authorized representative for the purpose of receiving 
and using an allotment on behalf of the household. Residents must be 
certified as one-person households unless their children are living 
with them, in which case their children must be included in the 
household with the parent.
* * * * *
    (5) DAA treatment centers may redeem benefits in various ways 
depending on the State's EBT system design. The designs may include DAA 
treatment center use of individual household EBT cards at authorized 
stores, authorization of DAA treatment centers as retailers with EBT 
access via POS at the center, DAA treatment center use of a center EBT 
card that is an aggregate of individual household benefits, and other 
designs. Regardless of the process elected, the State must ensure that 
the EBT design or DAA treatment center procedures prohibit the DAA 
treatment center from obtaining more than one-half of the household's 
allotment prior to the 16th of the month or permit the return of 
benefits to the household's EBT account through a refund, transfer, or 
other means. Guidelines for approval of EBT systems are contained in 
part 274 of this chapter.
    (6) When a household leaves the DAA treatment center, the center 
must perform the following:
    (i) Notify the State agency. If possible, the center must provide 
the household with a change report form to report to the State agency 
the household's new address and other circumstances after leaving the 
center and must advise the household to return the form to the 
appropriate office of the State agency within 10 days. After the 
household leaves the DAA treatment center, the center can no longer act 
as the household's authorized representative for certification purposes 
or for obtaining or using benefits.
    (ii) Provide the household with its EBT card if it was in the 
possession of the DAA treatment center. The DAA treatment center must 
return to the State agency any EBT card not provided to departing 
residents by the end of each month.
    (iii) If no benefits have been spent on behalf of the individual 
household, the center must return the full value of any benefits 
already debited from the household's current monthly allotment back 
into the household's EBT account at the time the household leaves the 
center.
    (iv) If the benefits have already been debited from the EBT account 
and any portion spent on behalf of the household, the following 
procedures must be followed.
    (A) If the household leaves prior to the 16th day of the month, the 
center must ensure that the household has one-half of its monthly 
benefit allotment remaining in its EBT account unless the State agency 
issues semi-monthly allotments and the second half has not been posted 
yet.
    (B) If the household leaves on or after the 16th day of the month, 
the State agency, at its option, may require the center to give the 
household a portion of its allotment. If the center is authorized as a 
retailer, the State agency may require the center to provide a refund 
for that amount back to the household's EBT account at the time that 
the household leaves the center. Under an EBT system where the center 
has an aggregate EBT card, the State agency may, but is not required 
to, transfer a portion of the household's monthly allotment from a 
center's EBT account back to the household's EBT account. In either 
case, the household, not the center, must be allowed to have sole 
access to any benefits remaining in the household's EBT account at the 
time the household leaves the center.
    (v) If the household has already left the DAA treatment center, and 
as a result, the DAA treatment center is unable to return the benefits 
in accordance with this paragraph (e)(6), the DAA treatment center must 
advise the State agency, and the State agency must effect the return 
instead. These procedures are applicable at any time during the month.
* * * * *
    (f) * * *
    (5) When the household leaves the facility, the GLA, either acting 
as an authorized representative or retaining use of the EBT card and 
benefits on behalf of the residents (regardless of the method of 
application), shall return the EBT card (if applicable) to the 
household. The household, not the GLA, shall have sole access to any 
benefits remaining in the household's EBT account at the time the 
household leaves the facility. The State agency must ensure that the 
EBT design or procedures for GLAs permit the GLA to

[[Page 4681]]

return unused benefits to the household through a refund, transfer, or 
other means.
    (6) If, at the time the household leaves, no benefits have been 
spent on behalf of that individual household, the facility must return 
the full value of any benefits already debited from the household's 
current monthly allotment back into the household's EBT account. These 
procedures are applicable at any time during the month. However, if the 
facility has already debited benefits and spent any portion of them on 
behalf of the individual, the facility shall do the following:
    (i) If the household leaves the GLA prior to the 16th day of the 
month, the facility shall provide the household with its EBT card (if 
applicable) and one-half of its monthly benefit allotment. Where a 
group of residents has been certified as one household and a member of 
the household leaves the center:
    (A) The facility shall return a pro rata share of one-half of the 
household's benefit allotment to the EBT account and advise the State 
agency that the individual is entitled to that pro rata share; and
    (B) The State agency shall create a new EBT account for the 
individual, issue a new EBT card and transfer the pro rata share from 
the original household's EBT account to the departing individual's EBT 
account. The facility will instruct the individual on how to obtain the 
new EBT card based on the State agency's card issuance procedures.
    (ii) If the household or an individual member of the group 
household leaves on or after the 16th day of the month and the benefits 
have already been debited and used, the household or individual does 
not receive any benefits.
    (iii) The GLA shall return to the State agency any EBT cards not 
provided to departing residents at the end of each month. Also, if the 
household has already left the facility and as a result, the facility 
is unable to perform the refund or transfer in accordance with this 
paragraph (f)(5), the facility must advise the State agency, and the 
State agency must effect the return or transfer instead.
    (iv) Once the resident leaves, the GLA no longer acts as his/her 
authorized representative. The GLA, if possible, shall provide the 
household with a change report form to report to the State agency the 
individual's new address and other circumstances after leaving the GLA 
and shall advise the household to return the form to the appropriate 
office of the State agency within 10 days.
* * * * *
    (8) If the residents are certified on their own behalf, the 
benefits may either be debited by the GLA to be used to purchase meals 
served either communally or individually to eligible residents or 
retained by the residents and used to purchase and prepare food for 
their own consumption. * * *
* * * * *

    Dated: February 12, 2019.
Brandon Lipps,
Acting Deputy Under Secretary, Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services.
[FR Doc. 2019-02551 Filed 2-15-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-30-P