10-144-301 Me. Code R. § FS-1

Current through Register Vol. 2020-42, October 14, 2020
Section 144-301-FS-1 - Introduction

USE - Food Supplement Program benefits are intended for the purchase of eligible foods, including seeds and plants. Persons outside the household may be designated to purchase food. Households are not required to have cooking facilities or access to cooking facilities to participate.

Certain households have been authorized by Congress to use FS to obtain prepared meals. Some examples are:

1. Communal dining facilities for the elderly, disabled, homeless, etc.
2. Meals on Wheels for the elderly or house-bound
3. Substance Abuse Treatment Centers
4. Group living arrangements for disabled persons. ("Disabled" as defined in FS-999-1)
5. Shelters for the homeless. (FS 999-1)

PERSONNEL STANDARDS - Personnel used in certification shall be employed in accordance with standards for a merit system prescribed by the U.S. Civil Service Commission.

RECORDS - All certification and fiscal records shall be retained in an orderly fashion for a period of three years from the origin of the records.

DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION - Rules and regulations shall be made available, upon request, to the general public.

ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY PROGRAM

The Address Confidentiality Program, administered by the Secretary of State, provides address confidentiality for victims of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault and requires state and local agencies and the courts to accept a designated address as the program participants' address when creating a public record. When an applicant or recipient verifies that they are a certified participant in the Address Confidentiality Program, the designated address is the only address accepted and provided when staff is required to release information in each circumstance described.

The Department shall restrict the use or disclosure of information obtained from applicant and participating households to:

1. Persons directly connected with:
a. the administration or enforcement of the provisions of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 or regulations;
b. other Federal assistance programs;
c. federally-assisted State programs providing assistance on a means-tested basis to low income individuals;
d. general assistance programs;
e. the administration or enforcement of the programs which are required to participate in the income and eligibility verification system (IEVS) to the extent the food assistance benefit information is useful in establishing or verifying eligibility or benefit amounts under those programs;
f. the verification of immigration status of aliens applying for food assistance benefits, through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program, to the extent the information is necessary to identify the individual for verification purposes;
g. the administration of the Child Support Program; and
h. the administration of federal work requirements and employment and training programs.
2. and to
a. employees of the Secretary of Health and Human Services as necessary to assist in establishing or verifying eligibility or benefits for Social Security or SSI;
b. employees of the Comptroller General's Office of the United States for audit examination authorized by any other provision of law; and
c. local, state, or federal law enforcement officials, upon their written request, if the officer furnishes the household member's name and information that the household member is fleeing to avoid prosecution or custody for a felony, or is violating a condition of parole or probation; where the household member has information necessary for the apprehension or investigation of another member who is fleeing to avoid prosecution or custody for a felony, or has violated a condition of probation or parole. The Department shall disclose only such information as is necessary to comply with a specific written request of a law enforcement official authorized by this section. This may include address, social security number and if available picture of the food assistance recipient in question, if requested.

NOTE: The written request shall include the identity of the individual requesting the information and his authority to do so, violation being investigated, and the identity of the person on whom the information is requested.

Recipients of this released information must adequately protect the information against unauthorized disclosure to persons or for purposes not specified in this section. In addition, information received through the IEVS must be protected from unauthorized disclosure as required by regulations established by the information provider.

EXCEPTION: The Department shall report any household member known to be illegally present in the United States.

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT - In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, no qualified individual with a disability will, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in, or be denied the benefits of, the services, programs or activities of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, or be subjected to discrimination by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

NONDISCRIMINATION - No applicant or participant shall be discriminated against for any reason whatsoever in any aspect of program administration. Enforcement action may be brought under any applicable Federal or State law. Title VI complaints shall be processed in accord with 7 CFR Part 15.

COMPLAINTS

The Department shall accept all complaints of discrimination, written or verbal, and forward them promptly to the Secretary or Administrator at the Department of Agriculture. People who believe that they have been subject to discrimination may also file a complaint directly with the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or
(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

ISSUANCE SYSTEM - Benefits are issued electronically through the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) System. (See Section FS-777-7) EBT cards are created and mailed from the Food Supplement Program EBT Office in Augusta, Maine. New benefit authorizations are processed on a daily basis, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

The regular monthly benefits are issued during a five-day period each month. Client benefits are available on the same date each month, (10th - 14th), once a client is included in the issuance cycle. The issuance date is based on the date of birth of the case head.

10-144 C.M.R. ch. 301, § FS-1