7 CFR 251.5 - Eligibility determinations.

§ 251.5 Eligibility determinations.

(a)Criteria for determining eligibility of organizations. Prior to making commodities or administrative funds available, State agencies, or eligible recipient agencies to which the State agency has delegated responsibility for the distribution of TEFAP commodities or administrative funds, must ensure that an organization applying for participation in the program meets the definition of an “eligible recipient agency” under § 251.3(d). In addition, applicant organizations must meet the following criteria:

(1)Agencies distributing to households. Organizations distributing commodities to households for home consumption must limit the distribution of commodities provided under this part to those households which meet the eligibility criteria established by the State agency in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section.

(2)Agencies providing prepared meals. Organizations providing prepared meals must demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the State agency, or eligible recipient agency to which they have applied for the receipt of commodities or administrative funds, that they serve predominantly needy persons. State agencies may establish a higher standard than “predominantly” and may determine whether organizations meet the applicable standard by considering socioeconomic data of the area in which the organization is located, or from which it draws its clientele. State agencies may not, however, require organizations to employ a means test to determine that recipients are needy, or to keep records solely for the purpose of demonstrating that its recipients are needy.

(3)Tax-exempt status. Private organizations must -

(i) Be currently operating another Federal program requiring tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), or

(ii) Possess documentation from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognizing tax-exempt status under the IRC, or

(iii) If not in possession of such documentation, be automatically tax exempt as “organized or operated exclusively for religious purposes” under the IRC, or

(iv) If not in possession of such documentation, but required to file an application under the IRC to obtain tax-exempt status, have made application for recognition of such status and be moving toward compliance with the requirements for recognition of tax-exempt status. If the IRS denies a participating organization's application for recognition of tax-exempt status, the organization must immediately notify the State agency or the eligible recipient agency, whichever is appropriate, of such denial, and that agency will terminate the organization's agreement and participation immediately upon receipt of such notification. If documentation of IRS recognition of tax-exempt status has not been obtained and forwarded to the appropriate agency within 180 days of the effective date of the organization's approval for participation in TEFAP, the State agency or eligible recipient agency must terminate the organization's participation until such time as recognition of tax-exempt status is actually obtained, except that the State agency or eligible recipient agency may grant a single extension not to exceed 90 days if the organization can demonstrate, to the State agency's or eligible recipient agency's satisfaction, that its inability to obtain tax-exempt status within the 180 day period is due to circumstances beyond its control. It is the responsibility of the organization to document that it has complied with all IRS requirements and has provided all information requested by IRS in a timely manner.

(b)Criteria for determining recipient eligibility. Each State agency must establish uniform Statewide criteria for determining the eligibility of households to receive commodities provided under this part for home consumption. The criteria must:

(1) Enable the State agency to ensure that only households which are in need of food assistance because of inadequate household income receive TEFAP commodities;

(2) Include income-based standards and the methods by which households may demonstrate eligibility under such standards; and

(3) Include a requirement that the household reside in the geographic location served by the State agency at the time of applying for assistance, but length of residency shall not be used as an eligibility criterion.

(c)Delegation of authority. A State agency may delegate to one or more eligible recipient agencies with which the State agency enters into an agreement the responsibility for the distribution of commodities and administrative funds made available under this part. State agencies may also delegate the authority for selecting eligible recipient agencies and for determining the eligibility of such organizations to receive commodities and administrative funds. However, responsibility for establishing eligibility criteria for organizations in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section, and for establishing recipient eligibility criteria in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section, may not be delegated. In instances in which State agencies delegate authority to eligible recipient agencies to determine the eligibility of organizations to receive commodities and administrative funds, eligibility must be determined in accordance with the provisions contained in this part and the State plan. State agencies will remain responsible for ensuring that commodities and administrative funds are distributed in accordance with the provisions contained in this part.

[ 64 FR 72904, Dec. 29, 1999]
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