Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Eligibility, Certification, and Employment and Training Provisions of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008
This final rule implements provisions of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (FCEA) affecting the eligibility, benefits, certification, and employment and training (E&T) requirements for applicant or participant households in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The rule amends the SNAP regulations to: Exclude military combat pay from the income of SNAP households; raise the minimum standard deduction and the minimum benefit for small households; eliminate the cap on the deduction for dependent care expenses; index resource limits to inflation; exclude retirement and education accounts from countable resources; clarify reporting requirements under simplified reporting; permit States to provide transitional benefits to households leaving State-funded cash assistance programs; allow States to establish telephonic and gestured signature systems; permit States to use E&T funds to provide job retention services; and update requirements regarding the E&T funding cycle. These provisions are intended to more accurately reflect needs, reduce barriers to participation, and improve efficiency in the administration of the program. This rule also replaces outdated language in SNAP certification regulations with the new program name and updates procedures for accessing SNAP benefits in drug and alcohol treatment centers and group living arrangements with use of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards. This rule provides States with regulatory options for conducting telephone interviews in lieu of face-to-face interviews and for averaging student work hours. Finally, the Department is issuing an interim final rule (with a request for additional comment) that will require that drug and alcohol treatment and group living arrangements (GLA) centers to: Submit completed change report forms to the State agency when a resident leaves the center; notify the State agency within 5 days when the center is not able to provide the resident with their EBT card at departure; and return EBT cards to residents with pro-rated benefits based up on the date of their departure.