Client Confidentiality and Group Interviews
Protecting the confidentiality of food stamp applicants and participants has been an important component of the Food Stamp Program (FSP) since its inception. While the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has been aware for some time that a number of state agencies have been making use of group interviews in order to simplify office operations, recently Regional Offices also have asked for guidance on various ways that group interviews might be conducted in their states. Some states believe that group interviews are an efficient use of scarce staff and are easier to organize and execute than an individual appointment system. In view of the recent security lapses surrounding confidential government files, it is especially appropriate for FNS to revisit the policy surrounding group interviews and to underscore the necessity of safeguarding information relating to our customers.