(1)Purpose. All State agencies are required to sufficiently automate their food stamp program operations and computerize their systems for obtaining, maintaining, utilizing and transmitting information concerning the food stamp program. Sufficient automation levels are those which result in effective programs or in cost effective reductions in errors and improvements in management efficiency, such as decreases in program administrative costs. Thus, for those State agencies which operate exceptionally efficient and effective programs, a lesser degree of automation may be considered sufficient than in other State agencies. In order to determine a sufficient level of automation in each State, each State agency shall develop an ADP/CIS plan. FNS may withhold State agency funds under § 276.4(a) for failure to submit an ADP/CIS plan in accordance with the deadlines for submission, for failure to make appropriate changes in their ADP/CIS plan within 60 days of their receipt of FNS comments, or for failure to implement the approved ADP/CIS plan in accordance with the dates specified therein, unless extensions of time or deviations from the plan or schedules have been approved by FNS.
(2)Content. In developing their ADP/CIS plans, State agencies shall use one of the following three formats:
(i) State agencies which are sufficiently automated in each area specified in § 272.10(b) may provide a single certification statement that they are sufficiently automated in each area.
(ii) State agencies which are sufficiently automated in some, but not all, areas specified in § 272.10(b) shall submit an ADP/CIS plan which consists of two parts. The first part would be the State agency's certification as to the areas in which they are sufficiently automated. The second part would describe the areas of § 272.10(b) which the State agency has not automated or, in its opinion, has not automated sufficiently and include the State agency's plans for sufficiently automating these areas. State agencies shall include a description of how they intend to automate each area and a timetable for each planned activity, including a consideration of transfers as discussed in paragraph (a)(3) of this section. State agencies which are not planning to automate each of the areas specified § 272.10(b) or which are not already automated in these areas shall provide justification. Any such justification shall include a cost-effectiveness analysis.
(iii) State agencies which are not sufficiently automated in any of the areas specified in § 272.10(b) shall submit an ADP/CIS plan which describes their plans for sufficiently automating each area, including a timetable for each planned activity, and including a consideration of transfers as discussed in paragraph (a)(3) of this section. State agencies which are not planning to automate each of the areas specified in § 272.10(b) or which are not, in their opinion, sufficiently automated in these areas shall provide justification. Any such justification shall include a cost-effectiveness analysis.
(i) State agencies planning additional automation shall consult with other State agencies and with the appropriate Regional Office to determine whether a transfer or modification of an existing system from another jurisdiction would be more efficient and cost effective than the development of a new system. In assessing the practicability of a transfer, State agencies should consult with other State agencies that have similar characteristics such as whether they are urban or rural, whether they are county or State administered, the geographic size of the States and the size of the caseload.
(ii) State agencies that plan to automate operations using any method other than transfers will need to be able to justify why they are not using transfers. The justification will need to include the results of the consultations with other State agencies, the relative costs of transfer and the system the State agency plans to develop, and the reasons for not using a transfer. Common reasons for not using transfers include: The State agency is required to use a central data processing facility and the (otherwise) transferable system is incompatible with it; the State agency's data base management software is incompatible with the transferable system; the State agency's ADP experts are not familiar with the software/hardware used by the transferable system and acquiring new expertise would be expensive; the transferable system is interactive or uses “generic” caseworkers, the receiving State agency does not and it would be expensive to modify the existing system and/or procedures; and transfer would provoke disputes with the State agency's personnel union. State agencies that cite any of these reasons shall not automatically receive approval to develop non-transferred systems. State agencies shall show what efforts were considered to overcome the problems and that those efforts are cost ineffective. This justification will need to be included as part of the Advance Planning Document that the State agency must submit for approval of its proposed system.
(iii) FNS will assist State agencies that request assistance in determining what other States have systems that should be considered as possible transfers.
(b)Model Plan. In order to meet the requirements of the Act and ensure the efficient and effective administration of the program, a food stamp system, at a minimum, shall be automated in each of the following program areas in paragraphs (b)(1), Certification, and (b)(2), Issuance Reconciliation and Reporting of this section. The food stamp system must further meet all the requirements in paragraph (b)(3), General, of this section.
(i) Determine eligibility and calculate benefits or validate the eligibility worker's calculations by processing and storing all casefile information necessary for the eligibility determination and benefit computation (including but not limited to all household members' names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, individual household members' earned and unearned income by source, deductions, resources and household size). Redetermine or revalidate eligibility and benefits based on notices of change in households' circumstances;
(ii) Identify other elements that affect the eligibility of household members such as alien status, presence of an elderly person in the household, status of periodic work registration, disqualification actions, categorical eligibility, and employment and training status;
(iii) Provide for an automatic cutoff of participation for households which have not been recertified at the end of their certification period;
(iv) Notify the certification unit (or generate notices to households) of cases requiring Notices of:
(A) Case Disposition,
(B) Adverse Action and Mass Change, and
(v) Prior to certification, crosscheck for duplicate cases for all household members by means of a comparison with food stamp records within the relevant jurisdiction;
(vi) Meet the requirements of the IEVS system of § 272.8. Generate information, as appropriate, to other programs.
(vii) Provide the capability to effect mass changes: Those initiated at the State level, as well as those resulting from changes at the Federal level (eligibility standards, allotments, deductions, utility standards, SSI, TANF, SAA benefits);
(viii) Identify cases where action is pending or follow-up must be pursued, for example, households and verification pending or households containing disqualified individuals or a striker;
(ix) Calculate or validate benefits based on restored benefits or claims collection, and maintain a record of the changes made;
(x) Store information concerning characteristics of all household members;
(xi) Provide for appropriate Social Security enumeration for all required household members; and
(xii) Provide for monthly reporting and retrospective budgeting as required.
(2)Issuance, reconciliation and reporting.
(i) Generate authorizations for benefits in issuance systems employing ATP's, direct mail, or online issuance and store all Household Issuance Record (HIR) information including: name and address of household, household size, period of certification, amount of allotment, case type (PA or NA), name and address of authorized representative, and racial/ethnic data;
(ii) Prevent a duplicate HIR from being established for presently participating or disqualified households;
(iii) Allow for authorized under- or over-issuance due to claims collection or restored benefits;
(iv) Provide for reconciliation of all transacted authorization documents to the HIR masterfile. This process must incorporate any manually-issued authorization documents, account for any replacement or supplemental authorization documents issued to a household, and identify cases of unauthorized and duplicate participation;
(v) Provide a mechanism allowing for a household's redemption of more than one valid authorization document in a given month;
(vi) Generate data necessary to meet Federal issuance and reconciliation reporting requirements, and provide for the eventual capability of directly transmitting data to FNS including:
(1) FNS-259—Summary of mail issuance and replacement;
(2) FNS-250—Reconciliation of redeemed ATPs with reported authorized coupon issuance.
(vii) Generate data necessary to meet other reporting requirements and provide for the eventual capability of directly transmitting data to FNS, including:
(A) FNS-101—Program participation by race;
(B) FNS-209—Status of claims against households; and
(C) FNS-388—Coupon issuance and participation estimates.
(viii) Allow for sample selection for quality control reviews of casefiles, and for management evaluation reviews;
(ix) Provide for program-wide reduction or suspension of benefits and restoration of benefits if funds later become available and store information concerning the benefit amounts actually issued;
(x) Provide for expedited issuance of benefits within prescribed timeframes;
(xi) Produce and store a participation history covering three (3) year(s) for each household receiving benefits.
(xii) Provide for cutoff of benefits for households which have not been recertified timely; and
(xiii) Provide for the tracking, aging, and collection of recipient claims and preparation of the FNS-209, Status of Claims Against Households report.
(3)General. The following functions shall be part of an overall State agency system but need not necessarily be automated:
(i) All activities necessary to meet the various timeliness and data quality requirements established by FNS;
(ii) All activities necessary to coordinate with other appropriate Federal and State programs, such as TANF or SSI;
(iii) All activities necessary to maintain the appropriate level of confidentiality of information obtained from applicant and recipient households;
(iv) All activities necessary to maintain the security of automated systems to operate the Food Stamp Program;
(v) Implement regulatory and other changes including a testing phase to meet implementation deadlines, generally within 90 days;
(vi) Generate whatever data is necessary to provide management information for the State agency's own use, such as caseload, participation and actions data;
(vii) Provide support as necessary for the State agency's management of Federal funds relative to Food Stamp Program administration, generate information necessary to meet Federal financial reporting requirements;
(viii) Routine purging of case files and file maintenance, and
(ix) Provide for the eventual direct transmission of data necessary to meet Federal financial reporting requirements.
[Amdt. 284, 52 FR 35226, Sept. 18, 1987, as amended by Amdt. 356, 59 FR 29713, June 9, 1994]
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