U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Sep 26, 2022
This part describes the general terms and conditions under which grant funds shall be provided by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to the government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for the purpose of designing and conducting a nutrition assistance program for needy persons. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is authorized to establish eligibility and benefit levels for the nutrition assistance program. In addition, with FNS approval, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico may employ a small proportion of the grant funds to finance projects that the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico believes likely to improve or stimulate agriculture, food production, and food distribution.
(a) FNS shall, consistent with the plan of operation required by § 285.3 of this part, and subject to availability of funds, provide nutrition assistance grant funds to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to cover 100 percent of the expenditures related to food assistance provided to needy persons and 50 percent of the administrative expenses related to the food assistance. The amount of the grant funds provided to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico shall not exceed amounts appropriated for this purpose for each fiscal year.
(b) FNS shall, subject to the provisions in §§ 285.3 and 285.5 in this part, and limited by the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section, pay to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for the applicable fiscal year, the amount estimated by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico pursuant to § 285.3(b)(4). Payments shall be made no less frequently than on a monthly basis prior to the beginning of each month consistent with the Treasury Fiscal Requirement Manual, Volume I, part 6, section 2030; these letters of credit shall be drawn on an as-needed basis. The amount shall be reduced or increased to the extent of any prior overpayment or underpayment which FNS determines has been made and which has not been previoulsy adjusted. The payment(s) received by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for a fiscal year shall not exceed the total authorized for the grant, or the total cost for the nutrition assistance program eligible for funding, whichever is less, for that fiscal year.
(c) FNS may recover from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, through offsets to funding during any fiscal year, funds previously paid to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and later determined by the Secretary to have been overpayments. Funds which may be recovered include, but are not limited to:
(1) Costs not included in the approved plan of operation;
(2) Unallowable costs discovered in audit or investigation findings;
(3) Funds allocated to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico which exceeded expenditures during the fiscal year for which the funds were authorized; or
(4) Amounts owed to FNS as a result of the nutrition assistance grant which have been billed to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and which the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has failed to pay without cause acceptable to FNS.
(d) Funds for payment of any prior fiscal year expenditures shall be claimed from the funding for that prior year. The payment of funds shall not exceed the authorization for that prior fiscal year.
(a) To receive payments for any fiscal year the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico shall have a plan of operation for that fiscal year approved by FNS. Each plan of operation shall be sumitted for FNS approval by the July 1 preceding the fiscal year for which the plan of operation is to be effective.
(b) The plan of operation shall include the following information:
(1) Designation of the agency or agencies directly responsible for administration, or supervision of the administration, of the nutrition assistance program.
(2) A description of the needy persons residing in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and an assessment of the food and nutrition needs of these persons. The description and assessment shall demonstrate that the nutrition assistance program is directed toward the most needy persons in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
(3) A description of the program for nutrition assistance including:
(i) A general description of the nutrition assistance to be provided the needy persons who will receive assistance, and any agencies designated to provide such assistance; and
(ii) To the extent grant funds are not used for direct nutrition assistance payments to needy persons, the plan of operation must demonstrate that the grants funds will provide nutrition assistance benefiting needy persons in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
(4) A budget and an estimate of the monthly amounts of expenditures necessary for the provision of the nutrition assistance and related administrative expenses up to the monthly amounts provided for payment in § 285.2.
(5) Other reasonably related information which FNS may request.
(6) An agreement signed by the governor or other appropriate official to conduct the nutrition assistance program in accordance with the FNS-approved plan of operation and in compliance with all pertinent Federal rules and regulations. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico shall also agree to comply with any changes in Federal law and regulations.
(c) Any amendments to those provisions of the plan of operation specified in paragraph (b) of this section, must be submitted to FNS for approval.
(d) FNS shall approve or disapprove any plan of operation no later than August 1 of the year of its submission. FNS approval of the plan of operation shall be based on an assessment that the nutrition assistance program, as defined in the plan of operation, is:
(1) Sufficient to permit analysis and review;
(2) Reasonably targeted to the most needy persons as defined in the plan of operation;
(3) Supported by an assessment of the food and nutrition needs of needy persons;
(4) Reasonable in terms of the funds requested;
(5) Structured to include safeguards to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse in the use of grant funds; and
(6) Consistent with all applicable Federal laws.
(e) FNS shall approve or disapprove any amendments to those provisions of the plan of operation specified in paragraph (b) of this section. If FNS fails either to approve or deny the amendment, or to request additional information within 30 days, the amendment to the plan of operation is approved. If additional information is requested, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico shall provide this as soon as possible, and FNS shall approve or deny the amendment to the plan of operation. Payment schedules and other program operations may not be altered until an amendment to the plan of operation is approved. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico shall, for informational purposes, submit to FNS any amendments to those provisions of the plan of operation not specified in paragraph (b) of this section. Such submittal shall be made at least 30 days prior to the effective date of the amendment. If circumstances warrant a waiver of the 30-day requirement, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico shall submit a waiver request to FNS for consideration. Should FNS determine that such an amendment relates to the provisions of paragraph (b) of this section, FNS approval as established above will be necessary for the amendment to be implemented.
(f) FNS may approve part of any plan of operation or amendment submitted by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico contingent on appropriate action by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico with respect to the problem areas in the plan of operation.
(g) If all or part of the plan of operation is disapproved, FNS shall notify the appropriate agency in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico of the problem area(s) in the plan of operation and the actions necessary to secure approval.
(h) In accordance with the provisions of § 285.5, funds may be withheld or denied when all or part of a plan of operation is disapproved.
(a) The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico shall provide an audit of expenditures in compliance with the requirements in part 3015 of this title at least once every two years. The findings of such audit shall be reported to FNS no later than 120 days from the end of each fiscal year in which the audit is made.
(b) Within 120 days of the end of each fiscal year, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico shall provide FNS with a statement of: (1) Whether the grant funds received for that fiscal year exceeded the valid obligations made that year for which payment is authorized, and if so, by how much, and (2) such additional related information as FNS may require.
(a) Grant funds may be withheld in whole or in part, or denied if there is a substantial failure by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to comply with the requirements of § 285.4, or to bring into compliance a plan of operation disapproved by FNS, or to comply with program requirements detailed in the plan of operation approved for that fiscal year. (For example, funds shall be paid to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to cover only the costs of the part or parts of the plan of operation receiving FNS approval. Withheld payments shall be paid when the unapproved part(s) of the plan are modified and approved.) FNS shall notify the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico that further payments shall not be made until FNS is satisfied that there will no longer be any such failure to comply.
(b) Upon a finding of a substantial failure to comply with the requirements of § 285.4 or the plan of operation, FNS may, in addition to or in lieu of actions taken in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section, refer the matter to the Attorney General with a request that injunctive relief be sought from the appropriate district court of the United States to require compliance with these regulations by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.