Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request-Review of Major Changes in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

 
CONTENT
Federal Register, Volume 84 Issue 132 (Wednesday, July 10, 2019)
[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 132 (Wednesday, July 10, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 32859-32860]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-14696]
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Notices
                                                Federal Register
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Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 132 / Wednesday, July 10, 2019 /
Notices
[[Page 32859]]
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Food and Nutrition Service
Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection;
Comment Request--Review of Major Changes in the Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program (SNAP)
AGENCY: Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), USDA.
ACTION: Notice.
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SUMMARY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this
notice invites the general public and other public agencies to comment
on the proposed information collection. This is a reinstatement, with
change, of a previously approved collection for which approval has
expired. The previously approved collection is associated with State
agencies notifying FNS of and thereafter reporting on Major Changes in
their operation of SNAP. The final rule entitled Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program: Review of Major Changes in Program Design and
Management Evaluation Systems was published on January 19, 2016. The
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) cleared the associated
information collection requirements (ICR) on March 10, 2016.
DATES: Written comments must be received on or before September 9,
2019.
ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted in writing by one of the following
methods:
     Preferred Method: Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting
comments.
     Mail: Send comments to Program Design Branch, Program
Development Division, FNS, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 800,
Alexandria, Virginia 22302.
     All written comments submitted in response to this
information collection will be included in the record and will be made
available to the public. Please be advised that the substance of the
comments and the identity of the individuals or entities submitting the
comments will be subject to public disclosure. FNS will make the
written comments publicly available on the internet via http://www.regulations.gov. All written comments will be open for public
inspection at the FNS office during regular business hours (8:30 a.m.
to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday) at 3101 Park Center Drive, Room
800, Alexandria, Virginia 22302. All responses to this notice will be
summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments
will be a matter of public record.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information
should be directed to Ms. Mary Rose Conroy at (703) 305-2803.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the
proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper
performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the
information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the
agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of
information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions
used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the
information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the
collection of information on those who respond, including through the
use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other
technological collection techniques or other forms of information
technology.
    Title: Review of Major Changes in Program Design.
    OMB Number: 0584-0579.
    Expiration Date: 5/31/2019.
    Type of Request: Reinstatement, with change, of a previously
approved collection for which approval has expired.
    Abstract: Section 11 of the Act (7 U.S.C. 2020) requires the
Department to develop standards for identifying major changes in the
operations of State agencies that administer SNAP. Regulations at 7 CFR
272.15 require State agencies to notify the Department when planning to
implement a major change in operations and State agencies to collect
any information required by the Department to identify and correct any
adverse effects on program integrity or access, including access by
vulnerable households. Since these rules have been in effect for about
two years, FNS has gained experience with the number and type of major
changes States have reported. However, since decisions to make major
changes to program operations rest with each individual State agency,
the frequency and timing of future major changes can only be estimated
based upon the last two years of FNS' experience.
    Regulations at 7 CFR 272.15(a)(3) require States to provide both
descriptive and analytic information regarding the major change. We
estimate it takes 8 hours to describe the change and 32 hours to
complete the required analysis for a total of 40 hours per response.
State agencies are required to provide descriptive information
regarding the major change together with an analysis of its projected
impacts on program operations. The regulations also set out
requirements for the State to collect and report additional monthly
information collected and gathered at the program/State levels that are
submitted on a quarterly basis to FNS. Reporting continues for at least
a year after the change is completely implemented. It is not uncommon
for a State to pilot a change prior to statewide implementation. FNS
can require information from the pilot to be submitted to FNS as well
as information regarding the statewide impacts of the change after full
implementation.
    There are six categories of major changes: (1) Changes to the
States automated system, (2) changing the responsibilities of merit
system personnel, (3) office closings, (4) reductions in State SNAP
merit system personnel, (5) changes that may make it more difficult for
households to report and (6) an undefined ``other'' category.
    Once a State has triggered one of the six criteria, the State is
required to report the ``automatic'' information as required in Sec.
272.15(b)(2)-(4) and FNS must determine what, if any, additional data
the State will be required to collect and report as provided for in
Sec.  272.15(b)(5). FNS has determined the automatic reporting
requirements and its ongoing data collection it requires will be
sufficient to provide to FNS the needed information on a major change.
Additional data will occasionally need to be generated from States'
automated
[[Page 32860]]
eligibility systems or gathered by conducting additional case review
surveys.
    Based upon FNS' experience over the last two years, out of 53 State
agencies this data collection impacts, FNS estimates only 10 States to
submit major changes annually. The total estimated burden hours
associated with the Major Change requirements since the final rule are
being revised from 9,663.75 to 2,160. While the number of expected
major changes States are expected to report annually is revised from
22.5 to 20, most of the decrease is based due to the initial
overestimated need for additional reporting beyond the ``automatic''
provisions of the rule. The final rule estimated that 6.75 States would
be required to gather and report additional data, while to date FNS has
not required this of any State so the estimate has been revised to one
(1) State annually will gather and report additional data to FNS. This
correction accounts for a decrease in hours from 7,377 in the final
rule to 896 in this notice.
    Affected Public: State, Local and Tribal governments.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 10 States per year.
    Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 5.
    Estimated Total Annual Responses: 50.
    Estimated Time per Response: 43.2 hours (average).
    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 2,160.
    While FNS' experience has resulted in a change to the number of
Major Changes FNS expects States to report annually and the number that
will require additional reporting, there is no basis to change original
estimates of time/staff needed by States to complete the required
notification reports. Thus, with an estimated 10 States reporting one
major change per year (based upon the last two years), the initial
reporting and analysis aspect of the rulemaking would be 10 annual
responses x 40 hours per initial response per State = an estimated 400
burden hours per year.
    In terms of State reporting after the initial notification, no
additional reporting has been required beyond the automatic reporting
requirements. Therefore, FNS is projecting that for nine of the ten
major changes expected each year there would be no additional reporting
burden beyond the automatic reporting. All 10 of the major changes
estimated each year are expected to require some automated system
reprogramming to generate the required automatic data reporting. At 48
hours per reprogramming effort, this would be 480 hours per year (10 x
48). Preparing the 40 quarterly reports are estimated to require 12
hours each. The total for the 10 States would be 480 + 480 hours = 960
total hours for reporting (divided by the 10 states = 96 hours per
State per year).
    For the 1 State projected to require additional data collection,
this requirement would be in addition to the 960 hours above. Such data
will generally be collected through a sample of case reviews. While the
required sample sizes may vary based on the type of major change and
the proportion of the State's SNAP caseload it may affect, 200 cases
per quarter would likely be an upper limit on what FNS could ask of a
State. At an estimated one hour to review and report on a case, this
would require 800 hours per year for one State each year. When the 400
hours for notifications and the 960 hours are added for the automatic
information, the total for the 10 States is 2,160 (or 216 hours per
State per year).
    With all 10 States reporting quarterly, there would be 40 responses
annually. One of the 40 reports would contain additional information
from sample data.
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                                                                              States
                  Section                            Requirement          responding per   Responses per     Number of       Hours per     Total burden
                                                                               year         respondent       responses       response          hours
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272.15(a)(3)..............................  Initial analysis of Major                 10               1              10              40             400
                                             Change.
272.15(b)(2)-(4)..........................  Reports required without                   9               4              36              24             864
                                             additional data collection.
272.15(b)(5)..............................  Reports required with                      1               4               4             224             896
                                             additional data collection.
                                                                         -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Totals................................  ............................              10             * 5              50          * 43.2           2,160
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(average)
    Dated: June 28, 2019.
Brandon Lipps,
Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-14696 Filed 7-9-19; 8:45 am]
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