(a) If a State agency elects to issue advance payments to all or some of the participating institutions in the State, it must provide such advances no later than the first day of each month to those eligible institutions electing to receive advances in accordance with § 226.6 (f)(3)(iv)(F). Advance payments shall equal the full level of claims estimated by the State agency to be submitted in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section, considering prior reimbursement claims and other information such as fluctuations in enrollment. The institution may decline to receive all or any part of the advance.
(b) For each fiscal year, the amount of payment made, including funds advanced to an institution, shall not exceed the amount of valid reimbursement claimed by that institution. To ensure that institutions do not receive excessive advance payments, the State agency shall observe the following procedures:
(1) After three advance payments have been made to an institution, the State agency shall ensure that no subsequent advance is made until the State agency has validated the institution's claim for reimbursement for the third month prior to the month for which the next advance is to be paid.
(2) If the State agency has audit or monitoring evidence of extensive program deficiencies or other reasons to believe that an institution will not be able to submit a valid claim for reimbursement, advance payments shall be withheld until the claim is received or the deficiencies are corrected.
(3) Each month the State agency shall compare incoming claims against advances to ensure that the level of funds authorized under paragraph (a) of this section does not exceed the claims for reimbursement received from the institution. Whenever this process indicates that excessive advances have been authorized, the State agency shall either demand full repayment or adjust subsequent payments, including advances.
(4) If, as a result of year end reconciliation as required by 7 CFR part 3016 or 7 CFR part 3019, as applicable, the State agency determines that reimbursement earned by an institution during a fiscal year is less than the amount paid, including funds advanced to that institution, the State agency shall demand repayment of the outstanding balance or adjust subsequent payments.
(c) Claims for Reimbursement shall report information in accordance with the financial management system established by the State agency, and in sufficient detail to justify the reimbursement claimed and to enable the State agency to provide the final Report of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (FNS 44) required under § 226.7(d). In submitting a Claim for Reimbursement, each institution shall certify that the claim is correct and that records are available to support that claim. For each month in which independent for-profit child care centers and independent for-profit outside-school-hours care centers claim reimbursement, they must submit the number and percentage of children in care (enrolled or licensed capacity, whichever is less) that documents at least 25 percent are eligible for free or reduced-price meals or are title XX beneficiaries. However, children who only receive at-risk afterschool snacks and/or at-risk afterschool meals must not be considered in determining this eligibility. Sponsoring organizations of for-profit child care centers or for-profit outside-school-hours care centers must submit the number and percentage of children in care (enrolled or licensed capacity, whichever is less) that documents that at least 25 percent are eligible for free or reduced-price meals or are title XX beneficiaries. Sponsoring organizations of such centers must not submit a claim for any for-profit center in which less than 25 percent of the children in care (enrolled or licensed capacity, whichever is less) during the claim month were eligible for free or reduced-price meals or were title XX beneficiaries. Independent for-profit adult day care centers shall submit the percentages of enrolled adult participants receiving title XIX or title XX benefits for the month claimed for months in which not less than 25 percent of enrolled adult participants were title XIX or title XX beneficiaries. Sponsoring organizations of such adult day care centers shall submit the percentage of enrolled adult participants receiving title XIX or title XX benefits for each center for the claim. Sponsoring organizations of such centers shall not submit claims for adult day care centers in which less than 25 percent of enrolled adult participants were title XIX or title XX beneficiaries for the month claimed. Prior to submitting its consolidated monthly claim to the State agency, each sponsoring organization must perform edit checks on each facility's meal claim. At a minimum, the sponsoring organization's edit checks must:
(1) Verify that each facility has been approved to serve the types of meals claimed; and
(2) Compare the number of children enrolled for care at each facility, multiplied by the number of days on which the facility is approved to serve meals, to the total number of meals claimed by the facility for that month. Discrepancies between the facility's meal claim and its enrollment must be subjected to more thorough review to determine if the claim is accurate.
(d) All records to support the claim shall be retained for a period of three years after the date of submission of the final claim for the fiscal year to which they pertain, except that if audit findings have not been resolved, the records shall be retained beyond the end of the three year period as long as may be required for the resolution of the issues raised by the audit. All accounts and records pertaining to the Program shall be made available, upon request, to representatives of the State agency, of the Department, and of the U.S. Government Accountability Office for audit or review, at a reasonable time and place.
(e) Unless otherwise approved by FNS, the Claim for Reimbursement for any month shall cover only Program operations for that month except if the first or last month of Program operations in any fiscal year contains 10 operating days or less, such month may be added to the Claim for Reimbursement for the appropriate adjacent month; however, Claims for Reimbursement may not combine operations occurring in two fiscal years. A final Claim for Reimbursement shall be postmarked and/or submitted to the State agency not later than 60 days following the last day of the full month covered by the claim. State agencies may establish shorter deadlines at their discretion. Claims not postmarked and/or submitted within 60 days shall not be paid with Program funds unless FNS determines that an exception should be granted. The State agency shall promptly take corrective action with respect to any Claim for Reimbursement as determined necessary through its claim review process or otherwise. In taking such corrective action, State agencies may make upward adjustments in Program funds claimed on claims filed within the 60 day deadline if such adjustments are completed within 90 days of the last day of the claim month and are reflected in the final Report of the Child and Adult Care Food Programs (FNS-44) for the claim month which is required under 226.7(d). Upward adjustments in Program funds claimed which are not reflected in the final FNS-44 for the claim month shall not be made unless authorized by FNS. Downward adjustments in Program funds claimed shall always be made without FNS authorization regardless of when it is determined that such adjustments are necessary.
(f) If, based on the results of audits, investigations, or other reviews, a State agency has reason to believe that an institution, child or adult care facility, or food service management company has engaged in unlawful acts with respect to Program operations, the evidence found in audits, investigations, or other reviews is a basis for non-payment of claims for reimbursement.