(a) How long is the certification period -
(1) Minimum certification period. The State agency must establish certification periods that are not less than one year but not more than three years in duration. If the State agency chooses to establish a certification period that exceeds one year, the State must first receive approval from FNS by submitting a State Plan amendment. FNS shall approve State requests for a certification period exceeding one year on the condition that, on an annual basis, local agencies do the following:
(i) Verify the address and continued interest of the participant; and
(ii) Have sufficient reason to determine that the participant still meets the income eligibility standards, which may include a determination that the participant has a fixed income.
(2) Temporary certification. An eligible CSFP applicant, including individuals on waiting lists, may be provided with a temporary monthly certification to fill any caseload slot resulting from nonparticipation by certified participants.
(3) Recertification. Participants must be recertified following the application procedures outlined at § 247.8 in order to continue receiving program benefits beyond the expiration of their certification period.
(b) On what day of the final month does the certification period end? The certification period extends to the final day of the month in which eligibility expires.
(c) Does the certification period end when a participant moves from the local area in which he or she was receiving benefits? No. The State agency must ensure that local agencies serve a CSFP participant who moves from another area to an area served by CSFP and whose certification period has not expired. The participant must be given the opportunity to continue to receive CSFP benefits for the duration of the certification period. If the local agency has a waiting list, the participant must be placed on its waiting list ahead of all other waiting applicants. The local agency that determined the participant's eligibility must provide verification of the expiration date of the certification period to the participant upon request.
(d) What must the local agency do to ensure that participants are aware of the expiration of the certification period? The local agency must notify program participants in writing at least 15 days before the expiration date that eligibility for the program is about to expire. The local agency must include a statement in the written notification that informs the applicant that program standards are applied without discrimination by race, color, national origin, age, sex, or disability.
(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 0584-0293)