USDA Publishes SNAP Final Rule; Implements Key Eligibility Reforms, Safeguards

Release #: 
FNS 0002.19
Contact: 
Contact: FNS Communications 703-305-2281
Date: 
04/12/2019

WASHINGTON, April 12, 2019 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture published a final rule today designed to ensure that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) standards on eligibility for students and restrictions for lottery winners and convicted felons are consistently applied, and that program integrity is secure.

The rule, published in the Federal Register, reforms SNAP by:

  • Restricting SNAP eligibility for those with lottery and gambling winnings;
  • Ensuring that exceptions to the prohibition on student SNAP eligibility focus appropriately on educational programs that deliver skills needed for the current job market;
  • Requiring consistent use of a system of robust data verification technology for income, eligibility, and immigration status to protect integrity; and
  • Implementing the statutory prohibition against SNAP receipt for certain convicted felons who are fleeing or otherwise not in compliance with the terms of their sentence or parole.

“Americans lose confidence in our oversight of the SNAP when there is a chance benefits go to millionaire lottery winners and convicted felons violating parole,” said USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps, “which is why I am pleased that we have completed action on this rule that strengthens integrity in this critical nutrition assistance program.”

States have long had the authority to impose a number of these requirements at their option but did not do so consistently. The final rule clarifies the specific standards for their implementation and reflects careful consideration of comments from program stakeholders.

This rulemaking is the latest in a series of actions that USDA has taken to promote integrity in SNAP, including:

  • Modernization of the SNAP Quality Control system, which assesses the volume and causes of improper payments, through updated guidance and training for states to improve data quality;
  • The SNAP Fraud Framework, a toolkit designed to help state agencies detect and prevent fraud, and to sharpen their investigative techniques; and
  • Updating the Memorandum of Understanding between FNS and USDA’s Office of Inspector General to increase the expeditious investigation and pursuit of suspected SNAP retailer violations.

USDA will continue to work with all who are interested in its programs, their participants, and the taxpayers who make it possible, to ensure that every dollar invested in the program is used wisely.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works to reduce food insecurity and promote nutritious diets among the American people. The agency administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.

#

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

 

Notice to Stakeholders: USDA Re-Opens Comment Period on Proposed SNAP Rule to Ensure All Interested Parties Can Be Heard

Date: 
04/03/2019

Underscoring its commitment to customer input on its actions, the U.S. Department of Agriculture today sent a notice for publication in the Federal Register to re-open the comment period for the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP):  Requirements for Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents” proposed rule.

The rule proposes changes to the standards by which states could seek to waive SNAP requirements to maintain time limits on the participation of able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) that do not meet work or training requirements.  It was published in the Federal Register on February 1, with a public comment period that ended on April 2. 

For a number of hours on April 1 and 2, the comment portal on www.federalregister.gov had difficulty in accepting comments from the public on proposed rules, including the ABAWD proposed rule.  During that time, the main federal government comments portal, www.regulations.gov, was fully operational and accepting comments.  However, the department received reports that some commenters were unable to upload their input because of the problems on www.federalregister.gov.

Therefore, USDA is reopening the comment period on April 8, 2019, for a period of 3 days ending April 10, 2019.  The department has taken this extraordinary step to make sure that anyone seeking to share views on this important regulatory proposal is able to do so.  All written comments submitted in response to this proposed rule during either of the two comment periods will be included in the regulatory record, made available to the public, and considered carefully in preparing a final rule. Given the technological challenges federalregister.gov has experienced earlier this week, FNS encourages stakeholders to submit comments via regulations.gov.

 

 

USDA Announces Food Assistance for Iowa Flood Victims

Release #: 
FNS-0001.19
Contact: 
FNS Communications 703-305-2281
Date: 
04/03/2019

WASHINGTON, April 3, 2019 – To aid Iowa residents impacted by recent flooding, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) benefits for five western Iowa counties. Households that do not normally qualify for SNAP may be eligible for D-SNAP if they meet certain requirements.

USDA is also providing extended time for current SNAP recipients to seek replacement of food lost due to the disaster. SNAP regulations normally require households to report lost food within 10 days of purchase.  However, USDA approved the Iowa Department of Human Services request to extend this time period so SNAP households have until April 30, 2019 to request replacement benefits.

“As families recover from a disaster like this, putting food on the table should be the least of their concerns,” said Acting Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps. “USDA is dedicated to helping disaster victims get back on their feet by allowing program flexibilities and providing assistance such as D-SNAP.”

D-SNAP will be available to eligible households in Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, and Woodbury counties. The application period will operate from April 8, 2019, through April 16, 2019. Operations will be closed during the weekend.

D-SNAP eligible households in the affected areas will receive one month of benefits, equivalent to the maximum amount of benefits normally issued to a SNAP household of their size, to meet their food needs. To be eligible for D-SNAP, a household must live in an identified disaster area, have been affected by the disaster, and meet certain D-SNAP eligibility criteria. Ongoing households that lived in any of the five counties approved for D-SNAP operations may request disaster supplements on an individual basis via signed affidavit attesting to their disaster losses.

The timing of D-SNAP implementation varies with the unique circumstances of each disaster but always begins after commercial channels of food distribution are restored and families are able to purchase and prepare food at home. Before operating a D-SNAP program, a state must ensure that proper public information, staffing and resources are in place.

nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans with the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. For more information on FNS assistance during times of disaster, visit www.fns.usda.gov/disaster.’s>

USDA Approves Disaster SNAP, School Meals Waiver for Nebraska Disaster Areas

Release #: 
USDA 0039.19
Contact: 
FNS Communications (703) 305-2281
Date: 
03/28/2019

WASHINGTON, March 28, 2019 – Low-income Nebraskans recovering from recent flooding could be eligible for food benefits through the Disaster SNAP (D-SNAP) program approved today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The department also approved the state’s request for temporary flexibility in meeting school lunch meal pattern requirements.

Households who may not normally be eligible under regular SNAP rules may qualify for D-SNAP, if they meet the disaster income limits and have qualifying disaster-related expenses.

“USDA is committed to helping Nebraskans get back on their feet in whatever capacity we can,” Food Nutrition and Consumer Services Acting Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps said. “The D-SNAP program is an important step forward to help flood impacted families get food on the table.”

D-SNAP eligible households in the affected areas will receive one month of benefits, equivalent to the maximum amount of benefits normally issued to a SNAP household of their size, to meet their food needs. To be eligible for D-SNAP, a household must live in an identified disaster area, have been affected by the disaster, and meet certain D-SNAP eligibility criteria. Nebraska will share information about D-SNAP operating dates and locations through the local media.

The timing of D-SNAP implementation varies with the unique circumstances of each disaster but always begins after commercial channels of food distribution have been restored and families are able to purchase and prepare food at home. Before operating a D-SNAP program, a state must ensure that proper public information, staffing and resources are in place.

The D-SNAP announcement today is part of USDA’s continuing efforts to help Nebraskans cope with the disaster. USDA is also allowing school lunch and breakfast meal pattern flexibility for schools in Nebraska through April 26.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works to reduce food insecurity and promote nutritious diets among the American people. The agency administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans with the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. For more information on FNS assistance during times of disaster, visit www.fns.usda.gov/disaster.

#

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

Registration for First 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Meeting Opens

Meeting Kicks Off at USDA on March 28, 29, Chair and Vice Chair Named
Release #: 
USDA No. 0033.19
Contact: 
USDA Press Email: press@oc.usda.gov
Date: 
03/19/2019

WASHINGTON, March 19, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), invites the public to register to attend the first meeting of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The meeting will be held at USDA headquarters in the Jefferson Auditorium on March 28th and 29th. Registration for in-person attendance begins today and closes at 5:00 p.m. March 26, 2019. Please visit DietaryGuidelines.gov for registration details.

“USDA is committed to ensuring the process for developing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is transparent and data-driven,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We are looking forward to kicking off the committee’s review of the scientific evidence, along with public engagement throughout the process. The comment period is open, and we encourage everyone to visit the redesigned Dietary Guidelines website”.

The next edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans will continue to focus on what Americans eat and drink as a whole to help prevent disease and keep people healthy. The 2020 guidelines will include recommendations for pregnant women, and children from birth to 24 months.

USDA and HHS look forward to robust public participation. This is the first of five meetings scheduled for the committee. USDA will soon provide the public with dates for all subsequent committee meetings. An ongoing public comment period, opened on March 12, will remain open throughout the committee’s deliberations to ensure the public can submit comments.

The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee will be chaired by Barbara Schneeman, Ph.D., and Ron Kleinman, M.D. will serve as vice chair. The independent advisory committee’s review, along with public and agency comments, will help inform the development of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Much of the committee’s work to evaluate the science relies on conducting systematic reviews that evaluate the body of published scientific evidence. USDA has renamed the Nutrition Evidence Library – the team responsible for this work – to Nutrition Evidence Systematic Review (NESR).

As part of its commitment to transparency, USDA is also launching two websites to make following the work easier. Along with a new name, NESR updated the website at www.nesr.usda.gov. There, users can find details about NESR’s current and previous systematic reviews. DietaryGuidelines.gov was also redesigned to provide better customer service and transparency to people interested in following the development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans serves as the cornerstone of federal nutrition programs and policies, providing food-based recommendations that help prevent diet-related chronic diseases and promote overall health. According to the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990, the guidelines are mandated to reflect the preponderance of scientific evidence and are published jointly by USDA and HHS every five years.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works to reduce food insecurity and promote nutritious diets among the American people. The agency administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans with the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

#

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

 

USDA Announces Launch of the Start Simple with MyPlate Campaign

Release #: 
USDA 0030.19
Contact: 
USDA Press Email: press@oc.usda.gov
Date: 
03/13/2019

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2019 — In a continuing effort to help Americans make healthy food choices, and in honor of National Nutrition Month®, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced a new campaign to help simplify the nutrition information that surrounds us each day.

Start Simple with MyPlate
(Video Link: https://youtu.be/W7_i5tY-5BY)

Start Simple with MyPlate is a new initiative to reduce confusion surrounding healthy eating and help people start with the basics. The Start Simple with MyPlate campaign provides ideas and tips from the five MyPlate food groups that Americans can easily incorporate into their busy lives to help improve their health and well-being over time.

USDA recommends people visit www.choosemyplate.gov/StartSimple to get started with tips on the MyPlate food groups, or to use a variety of simple resources to put these tips into action. Online resources include the MyPlate Plan and widget, a tip sheet, the MyPlate Action Guide, a one-week menu template, as well as a toolkit for nutrition professionals.

USDA also invites Americans to join the #MyPlateChallenge by sharing healthy eating tips or ideas related to the five MyPlate food groups. People can post a MyPlate-inspired healthy eating tip with a photo or video and share it on social media. Once they post their healthy eating tip, people can challenge a family member, friend, or co-worker to share their own tip.

Join USDA as we celebrate the different ways people strive to eat healthy and Start Simple with MyPlate! View more information about the challenge here: www.choosemyplate.gov/StartSimpleChallenge.

# # #

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service aims to increase food security and reduce hunger by providing children and low-income people access to food, a healthful diet and nutrition education in a way that supports American agriculture and inspires public confidence. In addition to co-developing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and providing nutrition education through MyPlate, the agency administers a network of nutrition assistance programs that comprise America’s nutrition safety net. For more information, visit www.fns.usda.gov.

 

Perdue Reiterates Need to Restore Original Intent of SNAP: A Second Chance, Not A Way of Life

Release #: 
USDA 0025.19
Contact: 
Press@oc.usda.gov
Date: 
03/01/2019

(Washington, D.C., February 28, 2019) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today reiterated during a U.S. Senate hearing the need to restore the original intent of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is to be a second chance and not a way of life. Secretary Perdue’s comments come on the heels of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) publishing in the Federal Register a proposed rule to move more able-bodied recipients of SNAP benefits to self-sufficiency through the dignity of work. The rule aims to restore the system to what it was meant to be: assistance through difficult times, not lifelong dependency. This proposed rule focuses on work-related program requirements for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) and would apply to non-disabled people, between the ages of 18 and 49, with no dependents. The rule would not apply to the elderly, the disabled, or pregnant women. Those who are eligible to receive SNAP – including the underemployed – would still qualify.

Despite the absence of any statutory changes to the welfare reform legislation of 1996, an abuse of administrative flexibility in SNAP has undermined the ideal of self-sufficiency. When then President Bill Clinton signed the legislation that instituted work requirements for ABAWDs he said, “First and foremost, it should be about moving people from welfare to work. It should impose time limits on welfare… It [work] gives structure, meaning and dignity to most of our lives.”

During today’s hearing, Secretary Perdue was asked about work requirements and his proposed rule. He said:

“What was accepted by the U.S. Senate and passed was the same bill that’s been there since the beginning of the Welfare Reform regarding the work requirements of 20 hours per week. And what you also passed was not a prohibition, it was no change to the fact that in one section it says that the Secretary may waive that applicability and we plan to do that for the ABAWDs. We think the purpose is to help people move to independency… We should help people when they are down but that should not be interminably.”

“…You all also provided for a 12 percent cushion for states that they could use for any purpose. But, we do not believe in states where unemployment is 4 percent that ABAWDs should be able to stay on food assistance interminably.”

You may click HERE or on the image below to watch Secretary Perdue’s remarks:

Perdue Hearing

Background:

Congress implemented this work requirement in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in 1996, and allowed the Secretary, upon request from a State to waive the work requirement for ABAWDs during times of high unemployment. The statute provides the Secretary with broad discretion to establish criteria for determining whether an area has an insufficient number of jobs and qualifies for a waiver.  The 2018 Farm Bill did not modify the discretion that Congress provided the Secretary regarding waivers of the ABAWD work requirements.

Congress implemented this work requirement in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act in 1996. This bill gave the Secretary of Agriculture the discretion to allow States to waive the work requirement for ABAWDs during times of high unemployment. This section of the statute related to ABAWD work requirements leaves waiver decisions to the Secretary of Agriculture. Click HERE to read the relevant statute (Section 6(o)).

On February 1st, USDA published in the Federal Register a proposed rule entitled Supplemental Assistance Program: Requirements for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD)

Under current SNAP statute, ABAWDs must work or participate in an employment program for at least 20 hours a week to continue to receive benefits for more than three months over a 36-month period. States may also allow volunteer activities to satisfy the work requirement. States may request to waive the time limit in areas with an unemployment rate above 10 percent or where there are ‘not sufficient jobs,’ which current regulations primarily define as an unemployment rate 20 percent above the national average. With today’s strong economy, that could include areas with unemployment rates of under 5 percent – a rate normally considered to be full employment. December 2018 data from the Department of Labor announced that job openings reached 7.3 million and that just under 6.3 million Americans were unemployed.

USDA’s proposal would help to ensure that work provisions are waived only when necessary, encouraging states to renew their focus on helping SNAP participants find a path to self-sufficiency. In a recent letter to the nation’s governors (PDF, 109 KB), Secretary Perdue explained, “These waivers weaken states’ ability to move the ABAWD population to long-term self-sufficiency because they do not require ABAWDs to engage in work and work training.”

USDA continues to encourage all interested parties to provide input on the proposed rule. The comment period opened on February 1 and closes on April 2.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works to reduce food insecurity and promote nutritious diets among the American people. The agency administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.

Members of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Announced

Scientific Experts Will Review Scientific Evidence on Key Nutrition Topics to Inform Development of New Guidelines
Release #: 
0022.19
Contact: 
USDA Press Email: press@oc.usda.gov
Date: 
02/21/2019

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2019 – To ensure America’s dietary guidance reflects the latest science, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar today announced the appointment of 20 nationally recognized scientists to serve on the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The independent advisory committee will review scientific evidence on topics and questions identified by the departments and will provide a report on their findings to the secretaries. Their review, along with public and agency comments, will help inform USDA and HHS’ development of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs).

“USDA is committed to ensuring everything we do is data-driven and based in scientific facts, which is why this expert committee’s work in objectively evaluating the science is of the utmost importance to the departments and to this process,” said Secretary Perdue. “The committee will evaluate existing research and develop a report objectively, with an open mind.”

“The scientists we selected to serve on the committee are national leaders in the areas of nutrition and health,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “HHS, USDA, and all Americans will benefit from the collective experience and expertise of the committee, which will conduct a rigorous examination of the scientific evidence on several diet-related health outcomes, including the prevention of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, which are three of the leading causes of death in the United States.”

The list of members appointed to the expert committee can be found at DietaryGuidelines.gov.

The committee’s work will kick off at a public meeting to be announced in the coming weeks. The committee will review scientific evidence on specific nutrition and health related topics and scientific questions that, for the first time, reflect both public comments and federal agency input. Throughout their deliberations, the public and other stakeholders will be encouraged to provide comments and feedback.

“In our continuing commitment to transparency and customer service, we invite the American public to engage in this process,” said Secretary Perdue. “We want to hear from everyone and all viewpoints. I encourage everyone with an interest to attend public meetings and to send comments through the Federal Register once the committee begins their work.”

The next edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans will continue to focus on dietary patterns of what Americans eat and drink as a whole, on average and over time, to help prevent disease and keep people healthy. Additionally, the review process will take a life-stage approach and will, for the first time, include pregnant women and children from birth to 24 months as mandated by the 2014 Farm Bill.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are updated every five years and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition programs and policies, providing food-based recommendations to help prevent diet-related chronic diseases and promote overall health.

###

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works to reduce food insecurity and promote nutritious diets among the American people. The agency administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provides science-based nutrition recommendations and serves as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy. For information and links, go to DietaryGuidelines.gov.

 The HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) provides leadership for disease prevention and health promotion initiatives on behalf of the HHS Secretary and as part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. ODPHP co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans with USDA and leads the development of Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. ODPHP also leads the Healthy People initiative, which sets evidence-based, 10-year national goals and objectives for improving the health of all Americans.

 

#

 

USDA Announces Plan to Protect SNAP Participants’ Access to SNAP in February

Release #: 
0003.19
Contact: 
USDA Press Email: press@oc.usda.gov
Date: 
01/08/2019

Washington, D.C., January 8, 2019 – At the direction of President Donald J. Trump, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced a plan to ensure that low-income Americans have access to the nutrition they need, despite the inability of Congress to pass an appropriations bill that safely secures our borders.  The plan provides full benefits for participants in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for the month of February.

When USDA’s funding expired on December 21, 2018, SNAP benefits for January were fully funded. States have already received that money and have been distributing it to participants. Since the lapse in appropriations, USDA has been reviewing options available to the department for funding February benefits without an additional appropriation from Congress.

“At President Trump’s direction, we have been working with the Administration on this solution.  It works and is legally sound.  And we want to assure states, and SNAP recipients, that the benefits for February will be provided,” Perdue said.  “Our motto here at USDA has been to ‘Do Right and Feed Everyone.’  With this solution, we’ve got the ‘Feed Everyone’ part handled.  And I believe that the plan we’ve constructed takes care of the ‘Do Right’ part as well.”

To protect SNAP participants’ access for February, USDA is working with states to issue February benefits earlier than usual.  USDA will rely on a provision of the just-expired Continuing Resolution (CR), which provides an appropriation for programs like SNAP and child Nutrition to incur obligations for program operations within 30 days of the CR’s expiration.  USDA will be reaching out to states to instruct them to request early issuance of SNAP benefits for February.  States will have until January 20th to request and implement the early issuance.  Once the early issuances are made, the February benefits will be made available to SNAP participants at that time. 

USDA has also ensured the other major nutrition assistance programs have sufficient funding to continue operations into February. The child nutrition programs, including school meals and after-school programs have funding available to continue operations through March. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) has prior year funding which USDA will begin to provide states this week to facilitate February benefits. Other FNS programs, which provide critical assistance to our nation’s food banks, the elderly, and Tribal nations, may continue to utilize grant funding provided prior to the lapse in appropriations. Commodity deliveries to those programs will continue.

 

Nutrition Assistance Programs under a Lapse in Appropriations

 

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

  • USDA will use the authority under the last Continuing Resolution to issue February benefits.  The Continuing Resolution that expired December 21, 2018 provided an appropriation for programs like SNAP and Child Nutrition to incur obligations for program operations during the 30 day-period following the expiration of the Act.
  • States will need to take action to issue February benefits on or before January 20, 2019.  We will be reaching out to States to instruct them to request early issuance of SNAP benefits for February. States will have until January 20 to implement this early issuance. 
  • Once these early issuances are made, the February benefits will be made available to SNAP participants at that time.  SNAP monthly issuance for February is estimated to be approximately $4.8 billion and State administrative expense (SAE) is estimated at about $350 million for a total need of approximately $5.1 billion.
  • This approach requires careful coordination. FNS has noticed States to hold their issuance filesStates would, instead, implement an early issuance strategy, providing February benefits to SNAP participants on or before January 20, 2019.  We will be working with States individually on how this approach is executed, in order to issue benefits to eligible households in the most efficient and equitable manner possible. 

Child Nutrition Programs

  • For these programs, including school meals and the Child and Adult Care Food Program, States already have funding to cover CN program operations for the month of January (approximately $2.1 billion) on the basis of the last continuing resolution.
  • This week, we will provide an additional two months’ worth of funding, consistent with the standard practice of funding these programs on a quarterly basis.

Supplemental Nutrition and Safety Programs

  • For WIC, FNS has identified resources to cover projected State expenditures for February.  The agency will allocate at least $248 million to State agencies this week, and we have identified an additional $350 million in unspent prior year funds to allocate at a later date.  A total of approximately $600 million in funding will be provided to WIC State agencies. We will continue to work with States to make resources available to the extent possible.
  • For the WIC Farmers’ Market (FMNP) and Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs (SFMNP), FNS does not anticipate significant operational impacts as they are seasonal benefit programs with annual grant funds.
  • For the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), food deliveries planned for February will continue.  Due to the lapse, States have not received their 2019 caseload assignments, so CSFP-participating States must operate at 2018’s caseload levels.  Similarly, states have received no additional administrative funds since the lapse, and none can be made available until the lapse ends.
  • For The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), food deliveries planned for February (including entitlement, bonus and trade mitigation) will continue.  States have received no additional administrative funds since the lapse, and none can be made available until the lapse ends.
  • For the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), food deliveries planned for February will continue.  FDPIR programs have administrative funding through January 31 and are expected to operate the program.

#

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

USDA Provides School Meal Flexibility, Feeds Disaster Victims and More in 2018

Release #: 
FNS-0009-18
Contact: 
FNS Communications (703) 305-2281
Date: 
12/21/2018

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2018 — Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Service Brandon Lipps today highlighted the accomplishments of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) in 2018, from common-sense flexibilities for school meal providers to the agency’s vigorous response to provide food to the victims of coast-to-coast natural disasters.  

“During 2018, the Food and Nutrition Service delivered on Secretary Perdue’s charge to ‘Do right and feed everyone.’ We helped get food to those recovering from disasters from Florida and the southeast, all the way to California and the Marshall Islands,” said Lipps. “We took steps to return control of school breakfasts and lunches to the school districts, while keeping in place structure that ensures our kids get wholesome, balanced meals, and we continued to work to ensure that moms in limited-income families have food security and the means to provide infants and young children with the healthy nutrition they need to grow and succeed.”

While facing a wide variety of hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters, the agency advanced its priorities to promote self-sufficiency, integrity, and customer service in the delivery of federal nutrition programs and, in so doing, put Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s clear directive to ‘do right and feed everyone’ into practice.

Key accomplishments this year include:

  • Expanding flexibility in delivering wholesome, nutritious, tasty school meals.
    • To make school meals more appealing to children, reduce food waste, and ease operational burdens, USDA published a final rule allowing for more flexibilities in the food served through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. This action is part of USDA’s Regulatory Reform Agenda, developed in response to President Trump’s Executive Order to eliminate unnecessary regulatory burdens.
    • FNS released an easy-to-use mobile application, the Food Buying Guide, to support food service professionals in planning menus with the latest customer-focused technology.
    • FNS awarded Farm to School Grants to 73 projects across 43 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam, to bring nutritious, local foods into schools and create new economic opportunities for farmers.
  • Increasing self-sufficiency and protecting integrity in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
    • With a focus on the Administration’s priority of moving SNAP participants to self-sufficiency through work, FNS trained nearly 40 more state and community organizations through its SNAP E&T Learning Academy, increasing awareness and support throughout the country for increased engagement of SNAP participants in work-related activities. The agency also issued a request for information from all interested stakeholders on how to improve and strengthen our efforts in moving SNAP participants to work.
    • FNS launched a strengthened performance reporting process that will better enable USDA and its state partners to make informed, data-driven decisions to improve program integrity. In June, USDA released new data on SNAP payment accuracy for the first time in three years – a critical management tool to identify and correct problems and help meet taxpayer expectations that every SNAP benefit is paid to the right person, in the right amount.
  • Helping Americans recover from devastating hurricanes and wildfires spanning both coasts.
    • FNS provided almost 13 million pounds of USDA Foods, valued at $18.6 million, and $5 million worth of infant formula and baby food, to ensure that those whose lives were disrupted by disaster had the food they needed as the got back on their feet.  
    • FNS replaced and supplemented SNAP benefits for households in stricken areas and authorized operation of Disaster SNAP, to provide temporary benefits to additional households under expanded eligibility criteria.
    • FNS eased administrative rules to allow schools in badly-damaged parts of states including North Carolina, Florida and California to temporarily serve free meals to children through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, while streamlining the meal pattern requirements for schools. States were also allowed to designate schools and other facilities as emergency shelters, which could provide meals through USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program.
    • Key flexibilities were provided to those States impacted by hurricanes to support Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) participants and ensure that mothers and children continued to receive the nutritional support they needed.
  • Leveraging innovative ideas, new technology, and partnerships to improve customer service.
    • Worked to support American farmers impacted by unfair trade practices by launching the trade mitigation, Food Purchase and Distribution Program. Through this program the USDA began purchasing domestic food products from farmers for the FNS nutrition assistance program. The support provided to farmers also served another important purpose as it yielded nutritious, 100 percent domestic foods to those in need.
    • USDA has been unwavering in its commitment to strengthen its customer experience for mothers and their young children in the WIC program. USDA launched an entirely revamped and enhanced breastfeeding promotion campaign based in research to support healthy beginnings for children and build a foundation to self sufficiency. In addition, to further promote and support breastfeeding as an excellent source of nutrition for most infants, USDA’s Secretary Sonny Perdue proclaimed the first week of August National WIC Breastfeeding Week.
  • Creating a more transparent Dietary Guidelines process.
    • FNS’ Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, marked three major milestones in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans development process: (1) Posting for public comment the proposed topics and supporting scientific questions in the review of the evidence supporting the development of upcoming Dietary Guidelines; (2) announcing the call for nominations from the public for Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee candidates, along with the updated topics and scientific questions to be examined by the Committee; and (3) soon thereafter and also for the first time, publicly posting the Committee’s Charter far in advance of its appointment.

 

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works to reduce food insecurity and promote nutritious diets among the American people. The agency administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage America’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.