The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued in the attached April 6, 2011, FEDERAL REGISTER notice, a final rule that will bring consistency between the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program). We reported on the rule in its proposed form in General Memorandum 10-058 (April 30, 2010). The USDA amends FDPIR to:
- Permanently exclude combat pay from being considered as income
- Eliminate the maximum dollar limit of the dependent care deduction
- Exclude from resource consideration household funds held in qualified education savings accounts identified in the Farm Bill and exclude any other education savings accounts for which an exclusion is allowed under SNAP
- Clarify that the current resource exclusion for retirement accounts is restricted to the qualified retirement accounts identified in the Farm Bill and that a resource exclusion will be allowed for any other retirement account for which an exclusion is allowed under SNAP
- Clarify that FDPIR income eligibility regulations refer to the SNAP net monthly income standard, rather than the SNAP grossly monthly income standard
- Exclude from resource consideration the cash value of life insurance policies and the first $1,500 of the equity value of a pre-paid funeral agreement
This rule goes into effect on May 6, 2011. Currently, 276 tribes receive benefits under FDPIR through 100 tribal organizations and five state agencies serving 95,000 low-income individuals. The 2008 Farm Bill (PL 110-246) authorizes tribes to administer the commodities program if the Secretary of Agriculture determines that the tribe is capable of effectively and efficiently administering a distribution program. The Secretary is also authorized to pay the administrative expenses associated with a tribe or state administering the FDPIR.
Please let us know if we may provide additional information regarding the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.