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FY19 Homeless Shelter Deduction Memo

Last Published: 02/13/2019
DATE: February 8, 2019
SUBJECT: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Provisions of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 - Section 4004 - Information Memorandum
TO: Regional Administrators
Food and Nutrition Service

On Dec. 20, 2018, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was reauthorized as part of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the Act) (P.L. 115-334). This information memorandum describes the provisions of Section 4004 of the Act, which is self-executing. An information memorandum outlining the remaining SNAP provisions will follow shortly. Regulations reflecting revisions to SNAP made by the Act will be published as soon as possible.

Please forward this memorandum to your State commissioners and keep us advised of any challenges faced by States in implementing these changes.

Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018

The Act contains various provisions that affect SNAP eligibility, benefits, and program administration, including changes mandated by the law and those that provide additional flexibility for State agencies.

As with previous legislative changes to the program, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will, as appropriate, hold States harmless for Quality Control purposes for 120 days from the implementation date, following requirements outlined in SNAP regulations at 7 CFR 275.12(d)(2)(vii).

Section 4004: Simplified Homeless Housing Costs

This provision amends section 5(e)(6)(D) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to make the current option to provide a shelter deduction to homeless households in which all members are homeless individuals that are not receiving free shelter throughout the month and do not opt to claim an excess shelter deduction mandatory for all States. It indexes the current value of $143 to inflation beginning in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019.

The FY 2019 value of the homeless shelter deduction is $147.55. FNS recognizes that State agencies will need time to make system and policy changes to begin applying this deduction. States must do so as soon as possible to ensure that all households entitled to this deduction receive it as appropriate. Homeless households that have qualifying shelter expenses must be made aware of their eligibility for this deduction and, if applicable, their option to claim this or an excess shelter deduction.

FNS is prepared to provide guidance and technical assistance to States as they Work to implement this deduction and will monitor timely implementation through the Management Evaluation process. This provision is self-executing. These legislative changes will be codified in future rulemaking, and annual adjustments to this deduction will be included in the SNAP Cost of Living Adjustments memo beginning in FY 2020.