There are multiple reports regarding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that are of significance for convenience store operators.


Earlier this month, Congress passed a $1.1 trillion FY 2017, which included a provision that delayed the new SNAP eligibility regulations until the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) rewrites its problematic “variety” definition. Under the Obama administration SNAP eligibility regulations, the variety definition would have required retailers to stock seven varieties of food in the four staple food categories.


The Trump administration will now rewrite the “variety” definition, which will likely give retailers more options for which foods can count toward staple food stocking requirements. Until the change is made, retailers can comply with the older requirements that require stocking three varieties of food in the four staple food categories.


The change in the definition of variety will correct the new requirement that variations of the same item count as only one item. For example, if a store has rice-based cereal and oat-based cereal, the two only count as one variety under the grain or cereal category. Variety was previously defined by the main ingredient or kind of product, but the new rule was changed in this case. Apples are an issue as well as tomatoes; tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato juice are all considered the same by the new definition.


Meanwhile, President Trump’s FY 2018 budget would cut $190 billion over 10 years from SNAP, with some of the savings attributed to stricter work requirements for adults who do not have children and are not disabled, and most of the difference would come from making states match 20% of the federal outlay.


Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney has proposed a SNAP retailer application fee to pay for his proposed cuts to the SNAP program. The applications would be for each location, rather than per company. Fees could range from $250 – $20,000 and would be levied only during the authorization or reauthorization process. Once authorized or reauthorized, store authorization lasts for several years.


FNS has posted an invitation for public comment on a proposed collection of information that will inform a study to better understand the universe and business practices of third-party processors (TPPs) and independent sales organizations (ISOs) that provide electronic benefit transfer (EBT) processing services and equipment to SNAP authorized retailers. Your feedback to FNS is welcomed here.


Source: PMAA Weekly Review