(a) What happens if a State or local agency misuses program funds? If FNS determines that a State or local agency has misused program funds through negligence, fraud, theft, embezzlement, or other causes, FNS must initiate and pursue a claim against the State agency to repay the amount of the misused funds. The State agency will be given the opportunity to contest the claim. The State agency is responsible for initiating and pursuing claims against subdistributing and local agencies if they misuse program funds.
(b) What happens if a State or local agency misuses program commodities? If a State or local agency misuses program commodities, FNS must initiate a claim against the State agency to recover the value of the misused commodities. The procedures for pursuing claims resulting from misuse of commodities are detailed in § 250.16(a) of this chapter. Misused commodities include commodities improperly distributed or lost, spoiled, stolen, or damaged as a result of improper storage, care, or handling. The State agency is responsible for initiating and pursuing claims against subdistributing agencies, local agencies, or other agencies or organizations if they misuse program commodities. The State agency must use funds recovered as a result of claims for commodity losses in accordance with § 250.17(c) of this chapter.
(c) What happens if a participant improperly receives or uses CSFP benefits through fraud? The State agency must ensure that a local agency initiates a claim against a participant to recover the value of CSFP commodities improperly received or used if the local agency determines that the participant or caretaker of the participant fraudulently received or used the commodities. For purposes of this program, fraud includes intentionally making false or misleading statements, or intentionally withholding information, to obtain CSFP commodities, or the selling or exchange of CSFP commodities for non-food items. The local agency must advise the participant of the opportunity to appeal the claim through the fair hearing process, in accordance with § 247.33(a). The local agency must also disqualify the participant from CSFP for a period of up to one year, unless the local agency determines that disqualification would result in a serious health risk, in accordance with the requirements of § 247.20(b).
(d) What procedures must be used in pursuing claims against participants? The State agency must establish standards, based on a cost-benefit review, for determining when the pursuit of a claim is cost-effective, and must ensure that local agencies use these standards in determining if a claim is to be pursued. In pursuing a claim against a participant, the local agency must:
(1) Issue a letter demanding repayment for the value of the commodities improperly received or used;
(2) If repayment is not made in a timely manner, take additional collection actions that are cost-effective, in accordance with the standards established by the State agency; and
(3) Maintain all records regarding claims actions taken against participants, in accordance with § 247.29.
(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 0584-0293)