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households: Provided, that the Secretary shall in the case of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, establish special standards of eligibility and coupon allotment schedules which reflect the avernge per capita income and cost of obtaining a nutritionally adequate diet in Puerto Rico and the respective territories; except that in no event shall the standards of eligibility or coupon allotment schedules so used exceed those in the fifty States.18

(c) Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, the Secretary shall include in the uniform national standards of eligibility to be prescribed under subsection (b) of this section a provision that each State agency shall provide that a household shall not be eligible for assistance under this Act if it includes an able-bodied adult person between the ages of eighteen and sixty-five (except mothers or other members of the household who have the responsibility of care of dependent children or of incapacitated adults, bona fide students in any accredited school or training program, or persons employed and working at least 30 hours per week) who either (a) fails to register for employment at a State or Federal employment office or, when impractical, at such other appropriate State or Federal office designated by the Secretary, or (b) has refused to accept employment or public work at not less than (i) the applicable State minimum wage, (ii) the applicable Federal minimum wage, (iii) the applicable wages established by a valid regulation of the Federal Government authorized by existing law to establish such regulations, or (iv) $1.30 per hour if there is no applicable wage as described in (i), (ii), or (ii) above. Refusal to work at a plant or site subject to a strike or a lockout for the duration of such strike or lockout shall not be deemed to be a refusal to accept employment. For the purposes of this section, the term “able-bodied adult person” shall not include any narcotics addict or alcoholic who regularly participates, as a resident or nonresident, in any drug addiction or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation program." (7 U.S.C. 2014.)

(d) The Secretary shall establish uniform national standards of eligibility for households described in section 3(e)(3) of this Act.20

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ISSUANCE AND USE OF COUPONS

Sec. 6. (a) Coupons shall be printed in such denominations as may be determined to be necessary, and shall be issued only to households which have been duly certified as eligible to participate in the food stamp program.

(b) Coupons issued to eligible households shall be used by them only

to purchase food in retail food stores which have been approved for in participation in the food stamp program at prices prevailing in such

Stores: Provided, That nothing in this Act shall be construed as auvthorizing the Secretary to specify the prices at which food may be

sold by wholesale food concerns or retail food stores.

(C) Coupons issued to eligible households shall be simple in design and shall include only such words or illustrations as are required to explain their purpose and define their denomination. The name of any public official shall not appear on such coupons. (7 U.S.C. 2015.) 1 The last sentence of subsection (b) was amended by Pub. L. 93-86, 87 Stat. 247, to provide for temporary standards of eligibility for victims of mechanical disasters.

The last sentence of subsection (c) was added by Pub. L. 93-86, Stat. 247, approved August 10, 1973. * A new subsection (d) was added by Pub. L. 93-86, 87 Stat. 246, approved August 10, 1978.

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VALUE OF THE COUPON ALLOTMENT AND CHARGES TO BE MADE

Sec. 7. (a) The face value of the coupon allotment which State agencies shall be authorized to issue to any households certified as eligible to participate in the food stamp program shall be in such amount as the Secretary determines to be the cost of a nutritionally adequate diet, adjusted semi-annually by the nearest dollar increment that is a multiple of two to reflect changes in the prices of food published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Department of Labor to be implemented commencing with the allotments of January 1, 1974, incorporating the changes in the prices of food through August 31, 1973, but in no event shall such adjustments be made for households of a given size unless the increase in the face value of the coupon allotment for such households, as calculated above, is a minimum of $2.00.21

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, households shall be charged for the coupon allotment issued to them, and the amount of such charge shall represent a reasonable investment on the part of the household, but in no event more than 30 per centum of the household's income: Provided, That coupon allotments may be issued without charge to households with income of less than $30 per month for a family of four under standards of eligibility prescribed by the Secretary: Provided further, That the Secretary shall provide a reasonable opportunity for any eligible household to elect to be issued a coupon allotment having a face value which is less than the face value of the coupon allotment authorized to be issued to them under subsection (a) of this section. The charge to be paid by eligible households electing to exercise the option set forth in this subsection shall be an amount which bears the same ratio to the amount which would have been charged under subsection (b) of this section as the face value of the coupon allotment actually issued to them bears to the face value of the coupon allotment that would have been issued to them under subsection (a) of this section.22

(c) The value of the coupon allotment provided to any eligible household which is in excess of the amount charged such households for such allotment shall not be considered to be income or resources for any purpose under any Federal or State laws including, but not limited to, laws relating to taxation, welfare, and public assistance programs.

(d) Funds derived from the charges made for the coupon allotment shall be promptly deposited in a manner prescribed in the regulations issued pursuant to this Act, in a separate account maintained in the Treasury of the United States for such purpose. Such deposits shall be available, without limitation to fiscal years, for the redemption of coupons. (7 U.S.C. 2016).

APPROVAL OF RETAIL FOOD STORES AND WHOLESALE FOOD CONCERNS

SEC. 8. (a) Regulations issued pursuant to this Act shall provide for the submission of applications for approval by retail food stores and wholesale food concerns which desire to be authorized to accept

21 Subsection (a) was substantially amended by Pub. L. 91-671, 84 Stat. 2050, approved January 11, 1971, and was further amended to provide for the semiannual adjustment of coupon allotments by Pub. L. 93-86, 87 Stat. 248, approved August 10, 1973. The phrase "households of a given size unless the increase in the face" inadvertently omitted from Pub. L. 93-86, 87 Stat. 248, was inserted by Pub. L. 93–125, 87 Stat. 450, approved October 11, 1973. * 22 Subsection (b) was amended by Pub. L. 91-671, 84 Stat. 2050, approved January 11, 1971.

and redeem coupons under the food stamp program and for the approval of those applicants whose participation will effectuate the purposes of the food stamp program. In determining the qualifications of applicants there shall be considered among such other factors as may be appropriate, the following: (1) the nature and extent of the retail or wholesale food business conducted by the applicant; (2) the volume of coupon business which may reasonably be expected to be conducted by the applicant retail food store or wholesale food concern; and (3) the business integrity and reputation of the applicant. Approval of an applicant shall be evidenced by the issuance to such applicant of a nontransferable certificate of approval.

(b) Regulations issued pursuant to this Act shall require an applicant retail food store or wholesale food concern to submit information which will permit a determination to be made as to whether such applicant qualifies, or continues to qualify, for approval under the provisions of this Act or the regulations issued pursuant to this Act. Regulations issued pursuant to this Act shall provide for safeguards which restrict the use or disclosure of information obtained under the authority granted by this subsection to purposes directly connected with administration and enforcement of the provisions of this Act or the regulations issued pursuant to this Act.

(c) Any retail food store or wholesale food concern which has failed upon application to receive approval to participate in the food stamp program may obtain a hearing on such refusal as provided in section 13 of this Act. (7 U.S.C. 2017.)

REDEMPTION OF COUPONS

SEC. 9. Regulations issued pursuant to this Act shall provide for the redemption of coupons accepted by retail food stores through approved wholesale food concerns or through banks, with the cooperation of the Treasury Department. (7 U.S.C. 2018.)

ADMINISTRATION

Sec. 10(a) All practicable efforts shall be made in the administration of the food stamp program to insure that participants use their increased food purchasing power to obtain those staple foods most needed in their diets, and particularly to encourage the continued use of those in abundant or surplus supply so as not to reduce the total consumption of surplus commodities which have been made available through direct distribution. In addition to such steps as may be taken administratively, the voluntary cooperation of existing Federal, State, local, or private agencies which carry out informational and educational programs for consumers shall be enlisted.

(b) The State agency of each participating State shall assume responsibility for the certification of applicant households and for the issuance of coupons: Provided, That the State agency may, subject to State law, delegate its responsibility in connection with the issuance of coupons to another agency of the State government. There shall be kept such records as may be necessary to ascertain whether the program is being conducted in compliance with the provisions of this Act and the regulations issued pursuant to this Act. Such records shall be available for inspection and audit at any reasonable time and

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shall be preserved for such period of time, not in excess of three years, as may be specified in the regulations.

(c) Certification of a household as eligible in any political subdivision shall, in the event of removal of such household to another political subdivision in which the food stamp program is operating, remain valid for participation in the food stamp program for a period of sixty days from the date of such removal. In the certification of applicant households for the food stamp program there shall be no discrimination against any household by reason of race, religious creed, national origin, or political beliefs.?

(d) Participating States or participating political subdivisions thereof shall not decrease welfare grants or other similar aid extended to any person or persons as a consequence of such person's or persons' participation in benefits made available under the provisions of this Act or the regulations pursuant to this Act.

(e) The State agency of each State desiring to participate in the food stamp program shall submit for approval a plan of operation specifying the manner in which such program will be conducted within the State, the political subdivisions within the State in which the State desires to conduct the program, and the effective dates of participation by each such political subdivision. In addition, such plan of operation shall provide, among such other provisions as may by regulations be required, the following: (1) the specific standards to be used in determining the eligibility of applicant households; (2) that the State agency shall undertake the certification of applicant households in accordance with the general procedures and personnel standards prescribed by the Secretary in the regulations issued pursuant to this Act;24 (3) safeguards which restrict the use or disclosure of information obtained from applicant households to persons directly connected with the administration or enforcement of the provisions of this Act or the regulations issued pursuant to this Act; (4) for the submission of such reports and other information as from time to time may be required; (5) that the State agency shall undertake effective action, including the use of services provided by other federally funded agencies and organizations, to inform low-income households concerning the availability and benefits of the food stamp program and insure the participation of eligible households; 25 (6) issuance of coupon allotments no less often than two times per month; 26 (7) notwithstanding any other provision of law, the institution of procedures under which any household participating in the program

23 Pub. L. 91-671, 81 Stat. 2051, approved January 11, 1971, added the first sentence and also a preceding sentence reading: "Any household which is receiving public assistance and which makes application for the benelits of this Act shall be certified for eligibility solely by execution of an alidavit, in such form as the Secretary may prescribe by the member of such household making application” which was subsequently deleted by Pub. L. 92-603, 85 Stat. 1191, approved October 30, 1972.

24 Clause 2 of the second sentence of subsretion (e) was amended by Pub. L. 92 603, 86 Stat. 1491, approved October 30, 1972 to substitute after "standards” new words for "used by them in the certification of appli; cants for benefits under the federally aided public assistance programs.” Section 208 of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act of 1970. Pub. L. 91-658, 84 Stat. 1915, approved January 5, 1971, transferred to the Civil Service Commission the functions, powers, and duties of the Secretary of Agriculture under this clouse.

23 Pub. L. 91 671, 84 Stat. 2048, approved January 11, 1971, added clauses (5) and (6) to the second sentence and inserted a sentence reading "The State agency shall, not withstanding any other provision of law, insti: tute procedures under which any household participating in the food stamp program shall be entitled, if it so elects, to have the charges, if any, for its coupon allotment deducted from any grant or payment such household may be entitled to receive under any federally aided public assistance program and have its coupon allotment distributed to it with such grant or payment.”, which was subsequently deleted by Pub. L. 92603, 86 Stat. 1491, approved October 30, 1972.

3o Clause 6 w is renumbered as clause 8 and a new clause (6) was added by Pub. L. 93 -86, 87 Stat. 247, approved August 10, 1973.

shall be entitled, if it so elects, to have the charges, if any, for its coupon allotment deducted from any grant or payment such household may be entitled to receive under title IV of the Social Security Act and have its coupon allotment distributed to it with such grant or payment; and (8) for the granting of a fair hearing and a prompt determination thereafter to any household aggrieved by the action of a State agency under any provision of its plan of operation as it affects the participation of such household in the food stamp program. In approving the participation of the subdivisions requested by each State in its plan of operation, the Secretary shall provide for an equitable and orderly expansion among the several States in accordance with their relative need and readiness to meet their requested effective dates of participation. The State agency is required to submit

, prior to January 1, 1974, for approval, a plan of operation specifying the manner in which such State agency intends to conduct the program

in every political subdivision in the State, unless such State agency can demonstrate that for any political subdivision it is impossible or impracticable to extend the program to such subdivision. The Secretary shall make a determination of approval or disapproval of a plan of operation submitted by a State agency in sufficient time to permit institution of such plan by no later than June 30, 1974.28

(1) If the Secretary determines that in the administration of the program there is a failure by a State agency to comply substantially with the provisions of this Act, or with the regulations issued pursuant to this Act, or with the State plan of operation, he shall inform such State agency of such failure and shall allow the State agency a reasonable period of time for the correction of such failure. Upon the expiration of such period, the Secretary shall direct that there be no further issuance of coupons in the political subdivisions where such failure has occurred until such time as satisfactory corrective action has been taken.

(g) If the Secretary determines that there has been gross negligence or fraud on the part of the State agency in the certification of applicant households, the State shall upon request of the Secretary deposit into the separate account authorized by section 7 of this Act, a sum equal to the amount by which the value of any coupons issued as a result of such negligence or fraud exceeds the amount that was charged for such coupons under section 7(b) of this Act.

(h) Subject to such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the Secretary in the regulations issued pursuant to this Act, members of an eligible household who are sixty years of age or over or an elderly person and his spouse may use coupons issued to them to purchase meals prepared for and delivered to them by a political subdivision or by a private nonprofit organization which: (1) is not receiving federally donated foods from the United States Department of Agriculture for use in the preparation of such meals; (2) is operated in a manner consistent with the purposes of this Act; and (3) is recognized as a tax exempt organization by the Internal Revenue Service: Prorided, That household members or elderly persons to whom meals are delivered are housebound, feeble, physically handicapped, or other* A new clause 7 was added by Pub. L. 93-86, 87 Stat. 247, approved August 10, 1973, which restores manda* The last two sentences of subsection (e) were added by Pub. L. 93-86, 87 Stat. 247, approved August 10,

tory public assistance withholding.

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