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Legal Resources | United States Code, Title 42 |    1786  

Special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children   

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(a) Congressional findings and declaration of purpose Congress finds that substantial numbers of pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and young children from families with inadequate income are at special risk with respect to their physical and mental health by reason of inadequate nutrition or health care, or both. It is, therefore, the purpose of the program authorized by this section to provide, up to the authorization levels set forth in subsection (g) of this section, supplemental foods and nutrition education through any eligible local agency that applies for participation in the program. The program shall serve as an adjunct to good health care, during critical times of growth and development, to prevent the occurrence of health problems, including drug abuse, and improve the health status of these persons.

(b) Definitions As used in this section -

(1) "Breastfeeding women" means women up to one year postpartum who are breastfeeding their infants.

(2) "Children" means persons who have had their first birthday but have not yet attained their fifth birthday.

(3) "Competent professional authority" means physicians, nutritionists, registered nurses, dietitians, or State or local medically trained health officials, or persons designated by physicians or State or local medically trained health officials, in accordance with standards prescribed by the Secretary, as being competent professionally to evaluate nutritional risk.

(4) "Costs of nutrition services and administration" or "nutrition services and administration" means costs that shall include, but not be limited to, costs for certification of eligibility of persons for participation in the program (including centrifuges, measuring boards, spectrophotometers, and scales used for the certification), food delivery, monitoring, nutrition education, outreach, startup costs, and general administration applicable to implementation of the program under this section, such as the cost of staff, transportation, insurance, developing and printing food instruments, and administration of State and local agency offices.

(5) "Infants" means persons under one year of age.

(6) "Local agency" means a public health or welfare agency or a private nonprofit health or welfare agency, which, directly or through an agency or physician with which it has contracted, provides health services. The term shall include an Indian tribe, band, or group recognized by the Department of the Interior, the Indian Health Service of the Department of Health and Human Services, or an intertribal council or group that is an authorized representative of Indian tribes, bands, or groups recognized by the Department of the Interior.

(7) Nutrition education.--The term "nutrition education" means individual and group sessions and the provision of material that are designed to improve health status and achieve positive change in dietary and physical activity habits, and that emphasize the relationship between nutrition, physical activity, and health, all in keeping with the personal and cultural preferences of the individual.

(8) "Nutritional risk" means (A) detrimental or abnormal nutritional conditions detectable by biochemical or anthropometric measurements, (B) other documented nutritionally related medical conditions, (C) dietary deficiencies that impair or endanger health, (D) conditions that directly affect the nutritional health of a person, such as alcoholism or drug abuse, or (E) conditions that predispose persons to inadequate nutritional patterns or nutritionally related medical conditions, including, but not limited to, homelessness and migrancy.

(9) "Plan of operation and administration" means a document that describes the manner in which the State agency intends to implement and operate the program.

(10) "Postpartum women" means women up to six months after termination of pregnancy.

(11) "Pregnant women" means women determined to have one or more fetuses in utero.

(12) "Secretary" means the Secretary of Agriculture.

(13) "State agency" means the health department or comparable agency of each State; an Indian tribe, band, or group recognized by the Department of the Interior; an intertribal council or group that is the authorized representative of Indian tribes, bands, or groups recognized by the Department of the Interior; or the Indian Health Service of the Department of Health and Human Services.

(14) "Supplemental foods" means those foods containing nutrients determined by nutritional research to be lacking in the diets of pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants, and children and foods that promote the health of the population served by the program authorized by this section, as indicated by relevant nutrition science, public health concerns, and cultural eating patterns, as prescribed by the Secretary. State agencies may, with the approval of the Secretary, substitute different foods providing the nutritional equivalent of foods prescribed by the Secretary, to allow for different cultural eating patterns.

(15) "Homeless individual" means -

(A) an individual who lacks a fixed and regular nighttime residence; or (B) an individual whose primary nighttime residence is -

(i) a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter (including a welfare hotel or congregate shelter) designed to provide temporary living accommodations;

(ii) an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized;

(iii) a temporary accommodation of not more than 365 days in the residence of another individual; or

(iv) a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

(16) "Drug abuse education" means -

(A) the provision of information concerning the dangers of drug abuse; and

(B) the referral of participants who are suspected drug abusers to drug abuse clinics, treatment programs, counselors, or other drug abuse professionals.

(17) "Competitive bidding" means a procurement process under which the Secretary or a State agency selects a single source (a single infant formula manufacturer) offering the lowest price, as determined by the submission of sealed bids, for a product for which bids are sought for use in the program authorized by this section.

(18) "Rebate" means the amount of money refunded under cost containment procedures to any State agency from the manufacturer or other supplier of the particular food product as the result of the purchase of the supplemental food with a voucher or other purchase instrument by a participant in each such agency's program established under this section.

(19) "Discount" means, with respect to a State agency that provides program foods to participants without the use of retail grocery stores (such as a State that provides for the home delivery or direct distribution of supplemental food), the amount of the price reduction or other price concession provided to any State agency by the manufacturer or other supplier of the particular food product as the result of the purchase of program food by each such State agency, or its representative, from the supplier.

(20) "Net price" means the difference between the manufacturer's wholesale price for infant formula and the rebate level or the discount offered or provided by the manufacturer under a cost containment contract entered into with the pertinent State agency.

(21) Remote Indian or native village. - The term "remote Indian or Native village" means an Indian or Native village that

(A) is located in a rural area;

(B) has a population of less than 5,000 inhabitants; and

(C) is not accessible year-around by means of a public road (as defined in section 101 of title 23).

(22) Primary contract infant formula.--The term "primary contract infant formula" means the specific infant formula for which manufacturers submit a bid to a State agency in response to a rebate solicitation under this section and for which a contract is awarded by the State agency as a result of that bid.

(23) State alliance.--The term "State alliance" means 2 or more State agencies that join together for the purpose of procuring infant formula under the program by soliciting competitive bids for infant formula.

(c) Grants-in-aid; cash grants; ratable reduction of amount an agency may distribute; affirmative action; regulations relating to dual receipt of benefits under commodity supplemental food program

(1) The Secretary may carry out a special supplemental nutrition program to assist State agencies through grants-in-aid and other means to provide, through local agencies, at no cost, supplemental foods and nutrition education to low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and children who satisfy the eligibility requirements specified in subsection (d) of this section. The program shall be supplementary to -

(A) the supplemental nutrition assistance program;

(B) any program under which foods are distributed to needy families in lieu of supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits; and

(C) receipt of food or meals from soup kitchens, or shelters, or other forms of emergency food assistance.

(2) Subject to amounts appropriated to carry out this section under subsection (g) of this section -

(A) the Secretary shall make cash grants to State agencies for the purpose of administering the program, and

(B) any State agency approved eligible local agency that applies to participate in or expand the program under this section shall immediately be provided with the necessary funds to carry out the program.

(3) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to permit the Secretary to reduce ratably the amount of foods that an eligible local agency shall distribute under the program to participants.

The Secretary shall take affirmative action to ensure that the program is instituted in areas most in need of supplemental foods.

The existence of a commodity supplemental food program under section 4 of the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act of 1973 shall not preclude the approval of an application from an eligible local agency to participate in the program under this section nor the operation of such program within the same geographic area as that of the commodity supplemental food program, but the Secretary shall issue such regulations as are necessary to prevent dual receipt of benefits under the commodity supplemental food program and the program under this section.

(4) A State shall be ineligible to participate in programs authorized under this section if the Secretary determines that State or local sales taxes are collected within the State on purchases of food made to carry out this section.

(d) Eligible participants

(1) Participation in the program under this section shall be limited to pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and children from low-income families who are determined by a competent professional authority to be at nutritional risk.

(2)(A) The Secretary shall establish income eligibility standards to be used in conjunction with the nutritional risk criteria in determining eligibility of individuals for participation in the program. Any individual at nutritional risk shall be eligible for the program under this section only if such individual -

(i) is a member of a family with an income that is less than the maximum income limit prescribed under section 1758(b) of this title for free and reduced price meals;

(ii)(I) receives supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 USC 2011 et seq.); or

(II) is a member of a family that receives assistance under the State program funded under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act (42 USC 601 et seq.) that the Secretary determines complies with standards established by the Secretary that ensure that the standards under the State program are comparable to or more restrictive than those in effect on June 1, 1995; or

(iii)(I) receives medical assistance under title XIX of the Social Security Act (42 USC 1396 et seq.); or

(II) is a member of a family in which a pregnant woman or an infant receives such assistance.

(B) For the purpose of determining income eligibility under this section, any State agency may choose to exclude from income -

(i) any basic allowance for housing received by military service personnel residing off military installations; and

(ii) any cost-of-living allowance provided under section 405 of title 37 to a member of a uniformed service who is on duty outside the contiguous States of the United States.

(C) In the case of a pregnant woman who is otherwise ineligible for participation in the program because the family of the woman is of insufficient size to meet the income eligibility standards of the program, the pregnant woman shall be considered to have satisfied the income eligibility standards if, by increasing the number of individuals in the family of the woman by 1 individual, the income eligibility standards would be met.

(3) Certification.

(A) Procedures.

(i) In general. A person shall be certified for participation in accordance with general procedures prescribed by the Secretary.

(ii) Breastfeeding women.--A State may elect to certify a breastfeeding woman for a period of 1 year postpartum or until a woman discontinues breastfeeding, whichever is earlier.

(B) A State may consider pregnant women who meet the income eligibility standards to be presumptively eligible to participate in the program and may certify the women for participation immediately, without delaying certification until an evaluation is made concerning nutritional risk. A nutritional risk evaluation of such a woman shall be completed not later than 60 days after the woman is certified for participation. If it is subsequently determined that the woman does not meet nutritional risk criteria, the certification of the woman shall terminate on the date of the determination.

(C) Physical presence. -

(i) In general. - Except as provided in clause (ii) and subject to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 USC 12101 et seq.) and section 794 of title 29, each individual seeking certification or recertification for participation in the program shall be physically present at each certification or recertification determination in order to determine eligibility under the program.

(ii) Waivers.-- If the agency determines that the requirement of clause (i) would present an unreasonable barrier to participation, a local agency may waive the requirement of clause (i) with respect to--

(I) an infant or child who--

(aa) was present at the initial certification visit; and

(bb) is receiving ongoing health care;

(II) an infant or child who--

(aa) was present at the initial certification visit;

(bb) was present at a certification or recertification determination within the 1-year period ending on the date of the certification or recertification determination described in clause (i); and

(cc) has one or more parents who work.

(III) an infant under 8 weeks of age--

(aa) who cannot be present at certification for a reason determined appropriate by the local agency; and

(bb) for whom all necessary certification information is provided.

(D) Income documentation. -

(i) In general. - Except as provided in clause (ii), in order to participate in the program pursuant to clause (i) of paragraph (2)(A), an individual seeking certification or recertification for participation in the program shall provide documentation of family income.

(ii) Waivers. - A State agency may waive the documentation requirement of clause (i), in accordance with criteria established by the Secretary, with respect to -

(I) an individual for whom the necessary documentation is not available; or

(II) an individual, such as a homeless woman or child, for whom the agency determines the requirement of clause (i) would present an unreasonable barrier to participation.

(E) Adjunct documentation. - In order to participate in the program pursuant to clause (ii) or (iii) of paragraph (2)(A), an individual seeking certification or recertification for participation in the program shall provide documentation of receipt of assistance described in that clause.

(F) Proof of residency. - An individual residing in a remote Indian or Native village or an individual served by an Indian tribal organization and residing on a reservation or pueblo may, under standards established by the Secretary, establish proof of residency under this section by providing to the State agency the mailing address of the individual and the name of the remote Indian or Native village.

(e) Nutrition education and drug abuse education

(1) The State agency shall ensure that nutrition education and drug abuse education is provided to all pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding participants in the program and to parents or caretakers of infant and child participants in the program. The State agency may also provide nutrition education and drug abuse education to pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women and to parents or caretakers of infants and children enrolled at local agencies operating the program under this section who do not participate in the program. A local agency participating in the program shall provide education or educational materials relating to the effects of drug and alcohol use by a pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding woman on the developing child of the woman.

(2) The Secretary shall prescribe standards to ensure that adequate nutrition education services and breastfeeding promotion and support are provided. The State agency shall provide training to persons providing nutrition education under this section.

(3) Nutrition education materials. -

(A) In general. - The Secretary shall, after submitting proposed nutrition education materials to the Secretary of Health and Human Services for comment, issue such materials for use in the program under this section.

(B) Sharing of materials. - The Secretary may provide, in bulk quantity, nutrition education materials (including materials promoting breastfeeding) developed with funds made available for the program authorized under this section to State agencies administering the commodity supplemental food program authorized under sections 4(a) and 5 of the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act of 1973 (7 USC 612c note; Public Law 93-86) at no cost to that program.

(4) The State agency -

(A) shall provide each local agency with materials showing the maximum income limits, according to family size, applicable to pregnant women, infants, and children up to age 5 under the medical assistance program established under title XIX of the Social Security Act (42 USC 1396 et seq.) (in this section referred to as the "medicaid program");

(B) shall provide to individuals applying for the program under this section, or reapplying at the end of their certification period, written information about the medicaid program and referral to such program or to agencies authorized to determine presumptive eligibility for such program, if such individuals are not participating in such program and appear to have family income below the applicable maximum income limits for such program; and

(C) may provide a local agency with materials describing other programs for which a participant in the program may be eligible.

(5) Each local agency shall maintain and make available for distribution a list of local resources for substance abuse counseling and treatment.

(f) Plan of operation and administration by State agency

(1)(A) Each State agency shall submit to the Secretary, by a date specified by the Secretary, an initial plan of operation and administration for a fiscal year. After submitting the initial plan, a State shall be required to submit to the Secretary for approval only a substantive change in the plan.

(B) To be eligible to receive funds under this section for a fiscal year, a State agency must receive the approval of the Secretary for the plan submitted for the fiscal year.

(C) The plan shall include -

(i) a description of the food delivery system of the State agency and the method of enabling participants to receive supplemental foods under the program at any of the authorized retail stores under the program, to be administered in accordance with standards developed by the Secretary, including a description of the State agency's vendor peer group system, competitive price criteria, and allowable reimbursement levels that demonstrate that the State is in compliance with the cost-containment provisions in subsection (h)(11);

(ii) procedures for accepting and processing vendor applications outside of the established timeframes if the State agency determines there will be inadequate access to the program, including in a case in which a previously authorized vendor sells a store under circumstances that do not permit timely notification to the State agency of the change in ownership;

(iii) a description of the financial management system of the State agency;

(iv) a plan to coordinate operations under the program with other services or programs that may benefit participants in, and applicants for, the program;

(v) a plan to provide program benefits under this section to, and to meet the special nutrition education needs of, eligible migrants, homeless individuals, and Indians;

(vi) a plan to expend funds to carry out the program during the relevant fiscal year;

(vii) a plan to provide program benefits under this section to unserved and underserved areas in the State (including a plan to improve access to the program for participants and prospective applicants who are employed, or who reside in rural areas), if sufficient funds are available to carry out this clause;

(viii) a plan for reaching and enrolling eligible women in the early months of pregnancy, including provisions to reach and enroll eligible migrants;

(ix) a plan to provide program benefits under this section to unserved infants and children under the care of foster parents, protective services, or child welfare authorities, including infants exposed to drugs perinatally;

(x) a plan to provide nutrition education and promote breastfeeding; and

(xi) such other information as the Secretary may reasonably require.

(D) The Secretary may not approve any plan that permits a person to participate simultaneously in both the program authorized under this section and the commodity supplemental food program authorized under sections 4 and 5 of the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act of 1973 (7 USC 612c note).

(2) A State agency shall establish a procedure under which members of the general public are provided an opportunity to comment on the development of the State agency plan.

(3) The Secretary shall establish procedures under which eligible migrants may, to the maximum extent feasible, continue to participate in the program under this section when they are present in States other than the State in which they were originally certified for participation in the program and shall ensure that local programs provide priority consideration to serving migrant participants who are residing in the State for a limited period of time. Each State agency shall be responsible for administering the program for migrant populations within its jurisdiction.

(4) State agencies shall submit monthly financial reports and participation data to the Secretary.

(5) State and local agencies operating under the program shall keep such accounts and records, including medical records, as may be necessary to enable the Secretary to determine whether there has been compliance with this section and to determine and evaluate the benefits of the nutritional assistance provided under this section. Such accounts and records shall be available at any reasonable time for inspection and audit by representatives of the Secretary and shall be preserved for such period of time, not in excess of five years, as the Secretary determines necessary.

(6)(A) Local agencies participating in the program under this section shall notify persons of their eligibility or ineligibility for the program within twenty days of the date that the household, during office hours of a local agency, personally makes an oral or written request to participate in the program. The Secretary shall establish a shorter notification period for categories of persons who, due to special nutritional risk conditions, must receive benefits more expeditiously.

(B) State agencies may provide for the delivery of vouchers to any participant who is not scheduled for nutrition education counseling or a recertification interview through means, such as mailing, that do not require the participant to travel to the local agency to obtain vouchers. The State agency shall describe any plans for issuance of vouchers by mail in its plan submitted under paragraph (1). The Secretary may disapprove a State plan with respect to the issuance of vouchers by mail in any specified jurisdiction or part of a jurisdiction within a State only if the Secretary finds that such issuance would pose a significant threat to the integrity of the program under this section in such jurisdiction or part of a jurisdiction.

(7)(A) The State agency shall, in cooperation with participating local agencies, publicly announce and distribute information on the availability of program benefits (including the eligibility criteria for participation and the location of local agencies operating the program) to offices and organizations that deal with significant numbers of potentially eligible individuals (including health and medical organizations, hospitals and clinics, welfare and unemployment offices, social service agencies, farmworker organizations, Indian tribal organizations, organizations and agencies serving homeless individuals and shelters for victims of domestic violence, and religious and community organizations in low income areas).

(B) The information shall be publicly announced by the State agency and by local agencies at least annually.

(C) The State agency and local agencies shall distribute the information in a manner designed to provide the information to potentially eligible individuals who are most in need of the benefits, including pregnant women in the early months of pregnancy.

(D) Each local agency operating the program within a hospital and each local agency operating the program that has a cooperative arrangement with a hospital shall -

(i) advise potentially eligible individuals that receive inpatient or outpatient prenatal, maternity, or postpartum services, or accompany a child under the age of 5 who receives well-child services, of the availability of program benefits; and

(ii) to the extent feasible, provide an opportunity for individuals who may be eligible to be certified within the hospital for participation in such program.

(8)(A) The State agency shall grant a fair hearing, and a prompt determination thereafter, in accordance with regulations issued by the Secretary, to any applicant, participant, or local agency aggrieved by the action of a State or local agency as it affects participation.

(B) Any State agency that must suspend or terminate benefits to any participant during the participant's certification period due to a shortage of funds for the program shall first issue a notice to such participant.

(9) If an individual certified as eligible for participation in the program under this section in one area moves to another area in which the program is operating, that individual's certification of eligibility shall remain valid for the period for which the individual was originally certified.

(10) The Secretary shall establish standards for the proper, efficient, and effective administration of the program. If the Secretary determines that a State agency has failed without good cause to administer the program in a manner consistent with this section or to implement the approved plan of operation and administration under this subsection, the Secretary may withhold such amounts of the State agency's funds for nutrition services and administration as the Secretary deems appropriate. Upon correction of such failure during a fiscal year by a State agency, any funds so withheld for such fiscal year shall be provided the State agency.

(11) Supplemental foods.

(A) In general. The secretary shall prescribe by regulation the supplemental foods to be made available in the program under this section.

(B) Appropriate content. To the degree possible, the Secretary shall assure that the fat, sugar, and salt content of the prescribed foods is appropriate.

(C) Allowable use of funds.--Subject to the availability of funds, the Secretary shall award grants to not more than 10 local sites determined by the Secretary to be geographically and culturally representative of State, local, and Indian agencies, to evaluate the feasibility of including fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and vegetables (to be made available through private funds) as an addition to the supplemental foods prescribed under this section.

(D) Review of available supplemental foods.--As frequently as determined by the Secretary to be necessary to reflect the most recent scientific knowledge, the Secretary shall--

(i) conduct a scientific review of the supplemental foods available under the program; and

(ii) amend the supplemental foods available, as necessary, to reflect nutrition science, public health concerns, and cultural eating patterns.

(12) Imposition of costs on retail stores.--The Secretary may not impose, or allow a State agency to impose, the costs of any equipment, system, or processing required for electronic benefit transfers on any retail store authorized to transact food instruments, as a condition for authorization or participation in the program.

(13) The State agency may (A) provide nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion, and drug abuse education materials and instruction in languages other than English and (B) use appropriate foreign language materials in the administration of the program, in areas in which a substantial number of low-income households speak a language other than English.

(14) If a State agency determines that a member of a family has received an overissuance of food benefits under the program authorized by this section as the result of such member intentionally making a false or misleading statement or intentionally misrepresenting, concealing, or withholding facts, the State agency shall recover, in cash, from such member an amount that the State agency determines is equal to the value of the overissued food benefits, unless the State agency determines that the recovery of the benefits would not be cost effective.

(15) To be eligible to participate in the program authorized by this section, a manufacturer of infant formula that supplies formula for the program shall -

(A) register with the Secretary of Health and Human Services under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 USC 301 et seq.); and

(B) before bidding for a State contract to supply infant formula for the program, certify with the State health department that the formula complies with such Act and regulations issued pursuant to such Act.

(16) The State agency may adopt methods of delivering benefits to accommodate the special needs and problems of homeless individuals.

(17) Notwithstanding subsection (d)(2)(A)(i) of this section, not later than July 1 of each year, a State agency may implement income