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Nov 7 -- The Food and Nutrition Service, USDA, invites interested persons to submit written comments by January 6, 2023 regarding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: State Agency Options for Standard Utility Allowances (SUAs) and Self-Employment Income.

The information collection addresses the following State agency options under SNAP: establishing and reviewing SUAs and establishing methodology for offsetting cost of producing self-employment income.

SNAP regulations at 7 CFR 273.9(d)(6)(iii) allow State agencies to establish SUAs in place of the actual utility costs incurred by a household. State agencies must review and adjust SUAs annually to reflect changes in the costs of utilities. As part of this annual update, State agencies may develop a new methodology and submit any updates to FNS via email for approval.

SNAP regulations at 7 CFR 273.11(b) allow State agencies to calculate a household's self-employment income by reducing the cost of producing such income. The regulations allow the State agencies, with approval from FNS, to establish the methodology for offsetting the costs of producing self-employment income, as long as the procedure does not increase program costs. Once approved by FNS via email, States can use these methodologies to determine net self-employment income for SNAP eligibility purposes.
FNS estimates that 53 State agencies will submit two responses each, which includes States' review of their preliminary SUA amounts and their final SUA amounts. In prior renewals, FNS did not delineate between these two submissions, but considered them part of one process. In this renewal, FNS chose to more clearly reflect the two responses States submit and adjust its estimate accordingly.

FNS asks States to submit preliminary SUA amounts voluntarily as part of their annual SUA update process. By collecting preliminary SUA estimates ahead of final annual updates, FNS can plan for any significant changes in SUA amounts which may considerably impact SNAP benefit amounts.

In FY 2022, FNS received final SUA amounts from all 53 State agencies. FNS did not collect preliminary SUA amounts in FY 2021 or FY 2020. However, in the past three years that FNS collected preliminary numbers, most States submitted these amounts, and 52 out of 53 State agencies submitted preliminary SUA amounts in FY 2022. For the purpose of this renewal, FNS estimates that all 53 State agencies will submit preliminary amounts in addition to their final SUA amounts, increasing the total annual responses to 106 (53 State agencies × 2 responses each).
Based on information provided in the Fourteenth Edition of the SNAP State Options Report, 23 out of 53 State agencies have already incorporated a methodology for determining the cost of doing business in self-employment cases, which was the basis of the previous burden estimate. Over the next three years this collection covers, FNS estimates that five (5) State agencies will establish a new methodology for offsetting the cost of producing self-employment income, either for the first time or as an update to their current methodology. This estimate is based on consultations with three (3) FNS regional offices.
SNAP State Options Report webpage: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/waivers/state-options-report
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-24151

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