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e-CFR data is current as of March 4, 2021

Title 7Subtitle BChapter IISubchapter CPart 275 → Subpart B

Title 7: Agriculture

Subpart B—Management Evaluation (ME) Reviews

§275.5   Scope and purpose.
§275.6   Management units.
§275.7   Selection of sub-units for review.
§275.8   Review coverage.
§275.9   Review process.

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§275.5   Scope and purpose.

(a) Objectives. Each State agency shall ensure that project areas operate SNAP in accordance with the Act, regulations, and FNS-approved State Plan of Operation. To ensure compliance with program requirements, ME reviews shall be conducted to measure compliance with the provisions of FNS regulations. The objectives of an ME review are to:

(1) Provide a systematic method of monitoring and assessing program operations in the project areas;

(2) Provide a basis for project areas to improve and strengthen program operations by identifying and correcting deficiencies; and

(3) Provide a continuing flow of information between the project areas, the States, and FNS, necessary to develop the solutions to problems in program policy and procedures.

(b) Frequency of review. (1) State agencies shall conduct a review once every year for large project areas, once every two years for medium project areas, and once every three years for small project areas, unless an alternate schedule is approved by FNS. The most current and accurate information on active monthly caseload available at the time the review schedule is developed shall be used to determine project area size.

(2) A request for an alternate review schedule shall be submitted for approval in writing with a proposed schedule and justification. In any alternate schedule, each project area must be reviewed at least once every three years. Approval of an alternate schedule is dependent upon a State agency's justification that the project areas that will be reviewed less frequently than required in paragraph (b)(1) of this section are performing adequately and that previous reviews indicate few problems or that known problems have been corrected. FNS retains the authority for approving any alternate schedule and may approve a schedule in whole or in part. Until FNS approval of an alternate schedule is obtained, the State agency shall conduct reviews in accordance with paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

(3) FNS may require the State agency to conduct additional on-site reviews when a serious problem is detected in a project area which could result in a substantial dollar or service loss.

(4) State agencies shall also establish a system for monitoring those project areas' operations which experience a significant influx of migratory workers during such migrations. This requirement may be satisfied by either scheduling ME reviews to coincide with such migrations or by conducting special reviews. As part of the review the State agency shall contact local migrant councils, advocate groups, or other organizations in the project area to ensure that migrants are receiving the required services.

[Amdt. 160, 45 FR 15900, Mar. 11, 1980, as amended by Amdt. 262, 49 FR 50597, Dec. 31, 1984; Amdt. 266, 52 FR 3408, Feb. 4, 1987]

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§275.6   Management units.

(a) Establishment of management units. For the purpose of ME reviews, State agencies may, subject to FNS approval, establish “management units” which are different from project areas designated by FNS for participation in the program. For example, State-established welfare districts, regions or other administrative structures within a State may be so designated. Management units can be designated as either large, medium, or small for purposes of frequency of review. However, establishment of management units solely for the purpose of reducing the frequency of review will not be approved by FNS.

(b) FNS approval of management units. State agencies shall submit requests for establishment of management units to FNS, which shall have final authority for approval of such units as well as any changes in those previously approved by FNS.

(1) The following minimum criteria must be met prior to requesting FNS approval:

(i) The proposed management unit must correspond with existing State-established welfare districts, regions, or other administrative structures; and

(ii) The unit must have supervisory control over SNAP operations within that geographic area and have authority for implementation of corrective action.

(2) In submitting the request for FNS approval, the State agency shall include the following information regarding the proposed management unit:

(i) That the proposed management unit meets the minimum criteria described in paragraphs (b)(1) (i) and (ii) of this section;

(ii) Geographic coverage, including the names of the counties/project areas within the unit and the identification (district or region number) and location (city) of the office which has supervisory control over the management unit;

(iii) SNAP participation, including the number of persons and number of households;

(iv) The number of certification offices;

(v) The number of issuance units;

(vi) The dollar value of allotments issued as reflected in the most recent available data; and

(vii) Any other relevant information.

[Amdt. 160, 45 FR 15900, Mar. 11, 1980; 45 FR 23637, Apr. 8, 1980, as amended by Amdt. 266, 52 FR 3408, Feb. 4, 1987]

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§275.7   Selection of sub-units for review.

(a) Definition of sub-units. Sub-units are the physical locations of organizational entities within project areas responsible for operating various aspects of SNAP and include but are not limited to certification offices, call centers, and employment and training offices.

(b) Selection of Sub-units for Review. State agencies shall select a representative number of sub-units of each category for review in order to determine a project area's compliance with program standards.

[Amdt. 160, 45 FR 15900, Mar. 11, 1980; 45 FR 23638, Apr. 8, 1980; 45 FR 46784, July 11, 1980, as amended by Amdt. 266, 52 FR 3408, Feb. 4, 1987; 81 FR 2741, Jan. 19, 2016]

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§275.8   Review coverage.

(a) During each review period, State agencies shall review the national target areas of program operation specified by FNS. FNS will notify State agencies of the minimum program areas to be reviewed at least 90 days before the beginning of each annual review period, which is the Federal fiscal year. FNS may add additional areas during the review period if deemed necessary. The FNS headquarters office will add national target areas during the review period only for deficiencies of national scope. State agencies have 60 days in which to establish a plan schedule for such reviews.

(b) State agencies shall be responsible for reviewing each national target area or other program requirement based upon the provisions of the regulations governing SNAP and the FNS-approved Plan of Operation. If FNS approves a State agency's request for a waiver from a program requirement, any different policy approved by FNS would also be reviewed. When, in the course of a review, a project area is found to be out of compliance with a given program requirement, the State agency shall identify the specifics of the problem including: the extent of the deficiency, the cause of the deficiency, and, as applicable, the specific procedural requirements the project area is misapplying.

[Amdt. 266, 52 FR 3408, Feb. 4, 1987, as amended by Amdt. 356, 59 FR 29713, June 9, 1994]

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§275.9   Review process.

(a) Review procedures. State agencies shall review the program requirements specified for review in §275.8 of this part using procedures that are adequate to identify problems and the causes of those problems. As each project area's operational structure will differ, State agencies shall review each program requirement applicable to the project area in a manner which will best measure the project area's compliance with each program requirement.

(b) ME review plan. (1) State agencies shall develop a review plan prior to each ME review. This review plan shall specify whether each project area is large, medium, or small and shall contain:

(i) Identification of the project area to be reviewed, program areas to be reviewed, the dates the review will be conducted, and the period of time that the review will cover;

(ii) Information secured from the project area regarding its caseload and organization;

(iii) Identification of the sub-units selected for review and the techniques used to select them;

(iv) At State agency option it may also indicate whether the State agency is using the ME review process to perform non-discrimination reviews; and

(v) A description of the review method(s) the State agency plans to use for each program area being reviewed.

(2) ME review plans shall be maintained in an orderly fashion and be made available to FNS upon request.

(c) Review methods. (1) State agenices shall determine the method of reviewing the program requirements associated with each program area. For some areas of program operation it may be necessary to use more than one method of review to determine if the project area is in compliance with program requirements. The procedures used shall be adequate to identify any problems and the causes of those problems.

(2) State agencies shall ensure that the method used to review a program requirement does not bias the review findings. Bias can be introduced through leading questions, incomplete reviews, incorrect sampling techniques, etc.

(d) Review worksheet. (1) State agencies shall use a review worksheet to record all review findings. For each sub-unit reviewed the State agency shall, on the worksheet, identify:

(i) The sub-unit being reviewed;

(ii) Each program requirement reviewed in the sub-unit;

(iii) The method used to review each program requirement;

(iv) A description of any deficiency detected;

(v) The cause(s) of any deficiency detected, if known;

(vi) The number of casefiles and/or program records selected and examined within the sub-unit, identification of those selected (record case number, household name, etc.), the proportion which were not subject to review, as well as the method used to select the sample;

(vii) Where applicable, the numerical extent of any deficiency detected through examination of program records; and

(viii) Any pertinent comments concerning the sub-unit's operation.

(2) State agencies shall promptly forward review findings to the appropriate State office for analysis, evaluation, and corrective action planning. Review worksheets shall be retained in an orderly fashion and made available to FNS upon request.

[Amdt. 160, 45 FR 15900, Mar. 11, 1980; 45 FR 25375, Apr. 15, 1980, as amended by Amdt. 266, 52 FR 3409, Feb. 4, 1987; Amdt. 356, 59 FR 29713, June 9, 1994; 81 FR 2741, Jan. 19, 2016]

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