Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Food Stamp Program Redemption Certificate, Form, FNS-278B; Food Stamp Program Wholesaler Redemption Certificate, Form FNS-278-4
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Food and Nutrition Service is publishing for public comment a summary of a proposed information collection. The proposed collection is a revision of a currently approved collection of the Food Stamp Program for which approval expires on February 28, 2005. The Food Stamp Act of 1977, as amended, requires that the Food and Nutrition Service will provide all authorized retail food stores and wholesale food concerns with redemption certificates. The redemption certificates are to be used by all authorized retailers and wholesale firms to present food coupons to insured financial institutions for credit or for cash. Requirements in the Food Stamp Program regulations are the basis for the information collected on Form FNS-278B, Food Stamp Redemption Certificate and Form FNS-278-4, Wholesaler Redemption Certificate. The Food and Nutrition Service is rapidly phasing out the use of paper food coupons. Currently, 99.9 percent of all food stamp benefits are issued electronically. Forty-eight States, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico have online operating Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) systems. Two States operate offline food stamp EBT systems and issue paper food coupons to recipients who move out of State and have remaining food stamp benefits. Many States have already closed out their coupon inventory completely and more will be doing the same in the upcoming year. Approximately 438,955 Redemption Certificates were processed by retailers and wholesalers in Fiscal Year 2004, and the number continues to decline due to 100 percent EBT implementation. Until all of the paper food coupons issued are redeemed, the Redemption Certificate will remain an essential document to the food stamp redemption process.