(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.