The Department of Agriculture is allowing states more flexibility under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service issued national program guidance Wednesday that allows the new flexibility.
The new guidance clarifies that while certification decisions must be made by state employees, FNS is expanding the possible use of contracted private-sector staff to provide basic case-specific information. Previous guidance restricted state contractor staff to a much more limited set of activities. USDA says that the new policy maximizes flexibility within the law related to the SNAP certification process, while holding states accountable for ensuring eligible people have access to food benefits as they move toward self-sufficiency.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the change is “a positive step toward enhancing customer service and being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”