National School Lunch Program: Direct Certification Continuous Improvement Plans Required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010
This rule amends the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) regulations to incorporate provisions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 designed to encourage States to improve direct certification efforts with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The provisions require State agencies to meet certain direct certification performance benchmarks and to develop and implement continuous improvement plans if they fail to do so. This rule also amends NSLP and SNAP regulations to provide for the collection of data elements needed to compute each State's direct certification performance rate to compare with the new benchmarks. Improved direct certification efforts would help increase program accuracy, reduce paperwork for States and households, and increase eligible children's access to school meals.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Suspension of SNAP Benefit Payments to Retailers
Integrity in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a primary Program concern. This proposed rule codifies a provision of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (FCEA) which authorizes the Department to suspend the payment of redeemed SNAP benefits to certain retail food stores or wholesale food concerns pending administrative action to disqualify the firms for fraudulent activity. In this proposed rule, the Department is also clarifying that, in all trafficking cases, requests for extensions to reply to charges of trafficking shall not be granted and that Freedom of Information requests will be completed separate from the administrative sanction process to prevent retailer-caused delays in the issuance of a final determination. Further, under existing authority in the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (hereinafter referred to as ``the Act''), the Department is proposing several changes to enhance retailer business integrity requirements.