The Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Appropriations bill provided the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) with $4 million for the purpose of evaluating state SNAP agencies’ (states’) usage of automated income data sources (also referred to as automated third party payroll sources, such as The Work Number) to verify income in determining household eligibility and benefit amounts. FNS will make available $2 million in FY 2020 and $2 million in FY 2021. FNS intends to allocate the $2 million in FY 2020 funds to states in the form of non-competitive grants before September 30, 2020.
The FY 2020 non-competitive grants will fund participating states’ evaluation efforts of automated income data sources. For FY 2020, FNS plans to award grants ranging from approximately $57,000 to approximately $250,000, contingent upon the availability of federal funding. The evaluation will require participating states to collect and report data and other information regarding processes, costs, and benefits of using automated income data sources for income verification. FNS intends to use the information collected and reported in the evaluation efforts to design and implement a pilot project that would be funded by the additional $2 million for FY 2021. In FY 2021, FNS will provide more information on opportunities related to the additional $2 million.
Automated income data sources can be a valuable tool for addressing several issues including reducing payment accuracy errors and improving timely application processing. At the same time, some states have reported that the cost of using automated income data sources to verify income can be prohibitive. FNS expects this evaluation to provide valuable information with practical implications for potential future state and/or federal initiatives including income data matching initiatives that would effectively improve SNAP payment accuracy without excessive administrative costs to the federal government or states.
Eligibility Requirements for the FY 2020 Non-Competitive Grants
States must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible to receive the FY 2020 noncompetitive grant. Eligibility requirements include that the state must currently use an automated income data source (also referred to as automated third party payroll source, such as The Work Number) to verify earned income when certifying SNAP households. In addition, the state must commit to collecting and reporting the evaluation data and information summarized in the appendix to this memorandum.
As explained above, FNS will only accept non-competitive grant applications from states that are currently using an automated income data source for verification of household income. In a county-administered state, the state should send the application on behalf of any interested county(ies). The amount of funds granted to each participant state will depend on the overall number and diversity of applicant states. If there is significant diversity with regard to caseloads and usage of automated income data sources, FNS may see fit to develop a consistent formula that would vary the amount of funds granted to each state based on those factors. If there is not significant diversity, all participating states may receive the same grant amount. For example, if 25 states with similar caseloads and usage of automated income data sources apply, each state would receive approximately $80,000.00. If a state were to withdraw or otherwise not participate in collecting and reporting the evaluation data, FNS reserves the right to re-allocate the FY 2020 non-competitive grant funds in order to use the full amount.
How to apply:
- To apply for a non-competitive grant, interested states must submit a one page proposal and accompanying one page budget narrative by no later than close of business Monday, July 27, 2020. Application instructions are below.
- The one page proposal must include the following:
o The amount of federal funds requested;
o The automated income data source(s) used by the state to verify household income;
o A description of how the state would fulfill the evaluation requirement summarized in the appendix;
o The approximate number of times the state (or county) used an automated income data source in an attempt to verify income as of May 1, 2020 for individuals in households applying/reapplying for, or reporting to, SNAP.
- The one page budget narrative must include:
o A narrative description of the Federal funds requested in SF-424A, including detailed calculation stating how these funds requested were derived.
SNAP state agencies can apply for these funds through the Grants.gov web portal at www.grants.gov. From the home page, click “Get Started,” then search for the opportunity package. The funding opportunity number is:
All applicants must adhere to the following application format. Applications not submitted via the Grants.gov portal will not be considered. In order to submit an application to the Grants.gov system, applicants must have obtained a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and register in both the new System for Award Management (SAM) and on Grants.gov.
Required Grant Application Forms
The following forms are found in the application package on Grants.gov.
- SF-424 Application and Instruction for Federal Assistance (SF-424)
o States interested in applying are eligible to receive between approximately $57,000 to $250,000.
- SF-424A Budget Information and Instruction (SF-424A)
o Please submit a budget request (SF-424 Form) for an amount from approximately $57,000 to $250,000. FNS may adjust the award amount depending on the availability of funds.
- SF-424B Assurance-Non-Construction Programs (SF-424B)
- SF-LLL (Disclosure of Lobbying Activities): Indicate on the form whether your organization intends to conduct lobbying activities. If your organization does not intend to lobby, write “Not Applicable.”
- Forms AD-1047-1049 and AD-10-1052, as applicable.
The following form is included as an attachment to this letter and should be submitted via Grants.gov with the rest of the application package.
- Financial Stability and Quality Management Questionnaire
- When awards are made, state agencies and FNS will sign a FNS-529 Grant Award form.
- A fully executed FNS-529 agreement, with terms and conditions, will serve as the official grant agreement.
Catalog of Domestic Federal Assistance (CFDA)
The Catalog of Domestic Federal Assistance number for this grant project award is: 10.561
- Selected applicants will be required to provide quarterly narrative progress reports utilizing FNS-908, and provide financial status reports quarterly through the Food Program Reporting System (FPRS). Additional details will be provided in the Terms and Conditions of the Award.
Application Due Date
Complete grant applications must be uploaded to www.grants.gov by 11:59 PM, Eastern Daylight Time, on Monday, July 27, 2020.
- Late applications will not be considered.
- FNS will not consider additions or revisions to applications once they are submitted.
- Grant awards are subject to the availability of funding and/or appropriations of funds.
If you have further questions on this grant opportunity, please contact your FNS regional office.
Director, Program Development Division
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program