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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities: Extension of Proposed Collection; Comment Request-Food Stamp Program State Agency Options

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AGENCY:

Food and Nutrition Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice invites the general public and other public agencies to comment on the proposed extension of this collection relating to State agency calculations of household expenses for Food Stamp Program purposes. The information collection requirement described in this notice is OMB Number 0584-0496: State Agency Options.

DATES:

Written comments must be received on or before June 25, 2007.

ADDRESSES:

Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments may be sent to Patrick Waldron, Branch Chief, Certification Policy Branch, Program Development Division, Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302. Comments may also be faxed to the attention of Mr. Waldron at (703) 305-2486. The Internet address is: patrick.waldron@FNS.USDA.GOV. All written comments will be open for public inspection at the office of the Food and Nutrition Service during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday) at 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, Virginia 22302, Room 800.

All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will be a matter of public record.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Requests for additional information should be directed to Mr. Waldron at (703) 305-2495.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: Food Stamp Program: State Agency Options.

OMB Number: 0584-0496.

Form Number: None.

Expiration Date: 7/31/07.

Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved information collection.

Abstract: Title 7, Part 273 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) sets forth the Food Stamp Program requirements for the application, certification and continued eligibility for food stamp benefits. This notice extends the collection burden to account for changes required by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (FSRIA), pending the issuance of a final rule.

Establishing and reviewing standard utility allowances. The regulations at 7 CFR 273.9(d)(6)(iii)(B) allow State agencies to establish standard utility allowances (SUA) and once established requires State agencies to review and adjust SUAs annually to reflect changes in the cost of utilities. Many State agencies already have one or more approved standards, which they update annually. State agencies may use information already available from case files, quality control reviews or other sources and from utility companies. State agencies may make adjustments based on cost-of-living increases. The information will be used to establish standards to be used in place of actual utility costs in the computation of the excess shelter deduction. State agencies are required to submit the amounts of these standards and methodologies used in developing and updating the standards to FNS when they are developed or changed.

Estimates of burden: Currently 52 State agencies have a standard that includes heating or cooling costs and 41 have a standard for utility costs other than heating or cooling. In addition, 51 State agencies have a telephone allowance standard. State agencies are required to review the standards yearly to determine if increases are needed due to the cost of living. We estimate a minimum of 2.5 hours annually to make this review and adjustment (2.5 hours × 52 State agencies = 130 hours). Total burden for this provision is estimated to be 130 hours per year.

Self-employment costs. The regulations at 7 CFR 273.11(b) allow self-employment gross income to be reduced by the cost of producing such income. The regulations allow the State agencies, with approval from FNS, to establish the methodology for offsetting the costs of producing self-employment income, as long as the procedure does not increase Program costs. State agencies may submit a request to FNS to use a method of producing a reasonable estimate of the costs of producing self-employment income in lieu of calculating the actual costs for each household with such income. Different methods may be proposed for different types of self-employment. The proposal shall include a description of the proposed method, the number and type of households and percent of the caseload affected, and documentation indicating that the proposed procedure will not increase program costs. State agencies may collect this data from household case records or other sources that may be available.

Estimates of burden: We estimate that 10 State agencies will submit a request of this type each year for the next three years. It is estimated that these States will incur a one-time burden of at least 10 working hours gathering and analyzing data, developing the methodology, determining the cost implication, and submitting a request to FNS for a total burden of 100 hours annually. State agencies are not required to periodically review their approved methodologies. We do not anticipate that State agencies will voluntarily review their methodologies for change on a regular basis, thus burden is not being assessed for this purpose at this time. Start Printed Page 20319

Record keeping burden only: Each State agency would be required to keep a record of the information gathered and submitted to FNS. We estimate this to be 7 minutes per year for the 53 State agencies to equal a total of 6 burden hours annually. (53 × 7 minutes/60 minutes per hour = 6 hours annual burden).

Summary of burden hours:

Affected Public: State agencies and local governments administering the Food Stamp Program.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 53.

Estimated Number of Responses Per Respondent: 2.16.

Estimated Number of Responses: 115.

Estimated Hours Per Response: 2.05.

Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 236.

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Dated: April 17, 2007.

Roberto Salazar,

Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service.

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[FR Doc. E7-7715 Filed 4-23-07; 8:45 am]

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