(a) General. A State agency shall use an immigration status verification system established under section 1137 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320b-7) to verify the eligible status of all aliens applying for SNAP benefits. USCIS maintains the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program to conduct such verification.
(1) Prior to implementing the SAVE Program, the State agency shall execute an agreement with USCIS. The agreement shall specify the information to be exchanged and the procedures which will be used in the exchange of information.
(2) The agreement shall cover at least the following areas:
(i) Identification of positions of all agency officials with authority to request immigration status information;
(ii) Identification and location of all SAVE access points covered by the agreement;
(iii) For automated SAVE verification through access to the Alien Status Verification Index (ASVI), a description of the access method and procedures;
(iv) For secondary verification as described in paragraph (d) of this section, the locations of USCIS District Offices to which verification requests will be directed;
(v) The safeguards limiting release or redisclosure as required by State or Federal law or regulation as discussed in § 272.1(c) and as may be required by other guidelines published by the Secretary; and
(vi) Reimbursement or billing agreements for ongoing SAVE operational costs, as well as any developmental costs associated with establishing access to the ASVI database.
(c) Use of data. The State agency shall use information obtained through the SAVE Program only for the purposes of:
(1) Verifying the validity of documentation of alien status presented by an applicant;
(2) Verifying an individual's eligibility for benefits;
(3) Investigating whether participating households received benefits to which they were not entitled, if an individual was previously certified to receive benefits on the basis of eligible alien status; and
(4) Assisting in or conducting administrative disqualification hearings, or criminal or civil prosecutions based on receipt of SNAP benefits to which participating households were not entitled.
(d) Method of verification. The State agency may verify the documentation presented by an alien applicant by completing USCIS Form G-845 and submitting photocopies of such documentation to the USCIS for verification as described in § 273.2(f)(10) of this chapter. In States that participate in SAVE, the State agency must use this secondary verification procedure whenever the applicant-individual's documented alien status has not been verified through automated access to the ASVI or significant discrepancies exist between the data on the ASVI and the information provided by the alien applicant.
(e) Plan of operation. The requirements for participation in the SAVE Program shall be included in an attachment to the State agency's Plan of Operation as required in § 272.2(d). This document shall include a description of procedures used, method of access and the agreement specified in paragraph (b) of this section, including steps taken to meet requirements of limiting disclosure and safeguarding of information obtained from SNAP households as specified in § 272.1.