7 CFR 225.5 - Payments to State agencies and use of Program funds.
(a) State administrative funds -
(2) Use of State administrative funds. State administrative funds paid to any State shall be used by State agencies to employ personnel, including travel and related expenses, and to supervise and give technical assistance to sponsors in their initiation, expansion, and conduct of any food service for which Program funds are made available. State agencies may also use administrative funds for such other administrative expenses as are set forth in their approved Program management and administration plan.
(3) Funding assurance. At the time FNS approves the State's management and administration plan, the State shall be assured of receiving State administrative funding equal to the lesser of the following amounts: 80 percent of the amount obtained by applying the formula set forth in paragraph (a)(1) of this section to the total amount of Program payments made within the State during the prior fiscal year; or, 80 percent of the amount obtained by applying the formula set forth in paragraph (a)(1) to the amount of Program funds estimated to be needed in the management and administration plan. The State agency shall be assured that it will receive no less than this level unless FNS determines that the State agency has failed or is failing to meet its responsibilities under this part.
(5) Full use of Federal funds. States and State agencies must support the full use of Federal funds provided to State agencies for the administration of Child Nutrition Programs, and exclude such funds from State budget restrictions or limitations including, hiring freezes, work furloughs, and travel restrictions.
(b) State administrative funds Letter of Credit.
(1) At the beginning of each fiscal year, FNS shall make available to each participating State agency by Letter of Credit an initial allocation of State administrative funds for use in that fiscal year. This allocation shall not exceed one-third of the administrative funds provided to the State in the preceding fiscal year. For State agencies which did not receive any Program funds during the preceding fiscal year, the amount to be made available shall be determined by FNS.
(2) Additional State administrative funds shall be made available upon the receipt and approval by FNS of the State's Program management and administration plan. The amount of such funds, plus the initial allocation, shall not exceed 80 percent of the State administrative funds determined by the formula set forth in paragraph (a)(1) of this section and based on the estimates set forth in the approved Program management and administration plan.
(3) Any remaining State administrative funds shall be paid to each State agency as soon as practicable after the conduct of the funding assessment described in paragraph (c) of this section. However, regardless of whether such assessment is made, the remaining administrative funds shall be paid no later than September 1. The remaining administrative payment shall be in an amount equal to that determined to be needed during the funding evaluation or, if such evaluation is not conducted, the amount owed the State in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section, less the amounts paid under paragraphs (b) (1) and (2) of this section.
(c) Administrative funding evaluation. FNSRO shall conduct data on the need for Program and State administrative funding within any State agency if the funding needs estimated in a State's management and administration plan are no longer accurate. Based on this data, FNS may make adjustments in the level of State administrative funding paid or payable to the State agency under paragraph (b) of this section to reflect changes in the size of the State's Program as compared to that estimated in its management and administration plan. The data shall be based on approved Program participation levels and shall be collected during the period of Program operations. As soon as possible following this data collection, payment of any additional administrative funds owed shall be made to the State agency. The payment may reflect adjustments made to the level of State administrative funding based on the information collected during the funding assessment. However, FNS shall not decrease the amount of a State's administrative funds as a result of this assessment unless the State failed to make reasonable efforts to administer the Program as proposed in its management and administration plan or the State incurred unnecessary expenses.
(d) Letter of Credit for Program payments.
(1) Not later than April 15 of each fiscal year, FNS shall make available to each participating State in a Letter of Credit an amount equal to 65 percent of the preceding fiscal year's Program payments for operating costs plus 65 percent of the preceding fiscal year's Program payments for administrative costs in the State. This amount may be adjusted to reflect changes in reimbursement rates made pursuant to § 225.9(d)(8). However, the State shall not withdraw funds from this Letter of Credit until its Program management and administration plan is approved by FNS.
(2) Based on the State agency's approved management and administration plan, FNS shall, if necessary, adjust the State's Letter of Credit to ensure that 65 percent of estimated current year Program operating and administrative funding needs is available. Such adjustment shall be made no later than May 15, or within 90 days of FNS receipt of the State agency's management and administration plan, whichever date is later.
(3) Subsequent to the adjustment provided for in paragraph (d)(2) of this section, FNS will, if necessary, make one additional adjustment to ensure that the State agency's Letter of Credit contains at least 65 percent of the Program operating and administrative funds needed during the current fiscal year. Such adjustment may be based on the administrative funding assessment provided for in paragraph (c) of this section, if one is conducted, or on any additional information which demonstrates that the funds available in the Letter of Credit do not equal at least 65 percent of current year Program needs. In no case will such adjustments be made later than September 1. Funds made available in the Letter of Credit shall be used by the State agency to make Program payments to sponsors.
(4) The Letter of Credit shall include sufficient funds to enable the State agency to make advance payments to sponsors serving areas in which schools operate under a continuous school calendar. These funds shall be made available no later than the first day of the month prior to the month during which the food service will be conducted.
(5) FNS shall make available any remaining Program funds due within 45 days of the receipt of valid claims for reimbursement from sponsors by the State agency. However, no payment shall be made for claims submitted later than 60 days after the month covered by the claim unless an exception is granted by FNS.
(6) Each State agency shall release to FNS any Program funds which it determines are unobligated as of September 30 of each fiscal year. Release of funds by the State agency shall be made as soon as practicable, but in no event later than 30 calendar days following demand by FNS, and shall be accomplished by an adjustment in the State agency's Letter of Credit.
(e) Adjustment to Letter of Credit. Prior to May 15 of each fiscal year, FNS shall make any adjustments necessary in each State's Letter of Credit to reflect actual expenditures in the preceding fiscal year's Program.
(f) Health inspection funds. If the State agency's approved management and administration plan estimates a need for health inspection funding, FNS shall make available by letter of credit an amount up to one percent of Program funds estimated to be needed in the management and administration plan. Such amount may be adjusted, based on the administrative funding assessment provided for in paragraph (c) of this section, if such assessment is conducted. Health inspection funds shall be used solely to enable State or local health departments or other governmental agencies charged with health inspection functions to carry out health inspections and meal quality tests, provided that if these agencies cannot perform such inspections or tests, the State agency may use the funds to contract with an independent agency to conduct the inspection or meal quality tests. Funds so provided but not expended or obligated shall be returned to the Department by September 30 of the same fiscal year.