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Library of Congress Summary
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
6/10/1981--Passed Senate amended. (Measure passed Senate, amended, roll call #147 (77-17)) Food Stamp and Commodity Distribution Amendments of 1981 -
Major Food Stamp Revisions
Amends the Food Stamp Act of 1977 to provide for an adjustment in costs of the thrifty food plan every 15 months beginning April 1, 1982, until October 1, 1984, and thereafter each October 1. Makes the household income eligibility standard 130 percent of the nonfarm income poverty guidelines prescribed by the Office of Management and Budget. Exempts from such standard households containing a member who is 60 years of age or over or containing a member who is receiving supplemental security income benefits or disability payments under the Social Security Act. Increases the standard deduction in computing income for eligible households and the excess shelter expense deduction for such households. Eliminates the semi-annual adjustment of such deduction. Reduces the earned income deduction from 20 percent to 15 percent for certain households. Revises retrospective accounting procedures to calculate income for households that derive their income in a period shorter than a year. Provides that certain household income, as of October 1, 1983, be calculated on a basis of anticipated income. Exempts migrant farmworker households from periodic income reporting requirements. Provides that all other households which fail to submit such report shall not receive an allotment for the period covered by such report. Repeals existing provisions of law which increase dependent care deductions for working adults and medical deductions for the elderly and disabled.
Other Food Stamp Program Cost Reductions
Provides that parents and children who live together shall be treated as one household, unless one parent is 60 years of age or older. Excludes from certain food stamp eligibility: (1) boarders (one who lives with others or pays compensation to others for meals); (2) participants in drug addiction or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation programs; (3) disabled or blind recipients of Social Security benefits; and (4) certain Alaska households with respect to specified equipment used to procure food by hunting, and fishing. Declares that sources of income that are excluded from household income for purposes of the food stamp program are those sources determined by Federal law. Sets forth eligibility criteria for sponsored aliens under the food stamp program. Prohibits any household from receiving increased allotments as a result of any household member being on strike. Makes households ineligible for assistance if certain members refuse to register for employment at the time of application and every twelve (formerly six) months thereafter. Makes households ineligible for food stamp assistance where the heads of such households voluntarily quit work for a period of 90 days, whether or not such household was eligible for assistance immediately prior to such unemployment. Provides that any person exempted from work requirements under the food stamp program because of compliance with work requirements under the Social Security Act, shall be held non-exempt under such program for noncompliance under such Act. Exempts a parent with the responsibility for the care of a child under the age six (formerly twelve) from the work requirements of the Food Stamp Act of 1977. Prohibits all eligible members of a household from refusing employment under a workfare program or other such public employer without good cause or exemption under such Act. Authorizes State agencies to establish and carryout workfare programs, in accordance with provisions of this Act and regulations issued by the Secretary of Agriculture, to provide employment to enable households to satisfy the work requirements of this Act. Provides that compensation for such employment shall consist of the allotment to which the household is entitled. Sets forth procedures and criteria for embodiment in such regulations and penalties for households which refuse employment under workfare programs. Directs the Secretary to pay 50 percent of all administrative costs involved in such programs and to evaluate such programs, at least annually, to determine their effectiveness in reducing the need for food stamp benefits. Authorizes the prorating of the first month of food stamp benefits and eliminates outreach services under the Food Stamp Act of 1977. Revises procedures for State agencies to grant expedited services for households in immediate need of food stamps, including verification of such a household's income. Authorizes the Secretary to waive claims arising under provisions of the Food Stamp Act of 1977 and to reduce amounts due any State agency for collecting unpaid claims assessed against it when such agency has exhausted its appeal rights under such Act. Provides a procedure for the collection of claims against a household arising from an overissuance of coupons by the reduction of monthly allotments, or repayment in cash.
Strengthening Penalties For Fraud and Abuse; Improving Administrative Procedure
Provides that retail food stores do not include establishments which sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises other than certain specified types of establishments. Provides that, with respect to cost adjustments in the thrifty food plan for the state of Alaska, Alaska means both urban and rural Alaska. Disallows, in computing household income, deductions for expenses paid by a third party on behalf of a household. Eliminates provisions of the Food Stamp Act of 1977 requiring the Secretary to follow regulations in force as of June 1, 1977, when prescribing the types and allowable amounts of financial resources an eligible household may own. Increases eligibility disqualification periods for fraud and misrepresentation. Provides for permanent disqualification from the food stamp program for the third occasion of any such adjudication. Disallows food stamp coupon users from receiving cash for change from food purchases. Makes State agencies liable to the Secretary of Agriculture for the loss of coupons issued through the mail to the extent provided by this Act. Repeals the prohibition against the reduction of State or local public assistance to an individual because of receipt of food stamp allotments. Directs approved retail food stores to display a sign providing information on how persons may report abuses in the operation of the food stamp program. Requires that application forms for food stamp assistance inform the applicant that any information provided is subject to verification by Federal, State, and local officials. Declares that food stamps may be denied to any applicant who knowingly provides incorrect information. Repeals the 60-day transfer of certification for eligible households which move from one political subdivision to another. Authorizes the Secretary to replace coupons stolen or destroyed after receipt by a household for any one month during a six-month period. Prohibits replacement of coupons to households who lost or misplaced such coupons. Authorizes State agencies to allow State and local law enforcement officials access to applicant information for the purpose of investigating possible violations of the food stamp program. Authorizes State agencies with a written statement from a household containing information that requires reduction or termination of such household's benefits, to reduce or terminate such benefits immediately prior to an administrative hearing. Directs State agencies to restore food stamp benefits promptly upon the request of households, or other such notification, when such benefits were wrongfully denied or terminated, except in cases where such denial occurred more than one year before such notification. Authorizes State agencies to utilize unemployment and social security information to the extent permitted under the Social Security Act. Amends the Food Stamp Act Amendments of 1980 to change the effective date for disclosure of internal revenue returns information by the Social Security Administration, the Department of Agriculture, and State food stamp agencies from January 1, 1982, to January 1, 1983. Eliminates the requirement that the Secretary supplement the nutrition education program with printed materials designed for persons with low reading and comprehension levels. Provides minimum mandatory sentences for violations of the Food Stamp Act of 1977, including a work restitution program. Eliminates the requirement for the Secretary to establish staffing standards for State agencies. Provides for an increase in the federally funded share of administrative costs to State agencies whose quality control programs result in less than the nationwide percentage of errors. Requires certain household members to furnish their social security numbers to State agencies for the administration of the food stamp program. Makes households in which all of the members are recipients of aid to families with dependent children (AFDC) under the Social Security Act eligible for cash payments in the value of allotments to which such households are entitled. Directs the Secretary to evaluate the feasibility, benefits, and disadvantages of adjusting household allotments with respect to the age and sex of household members including an evaluation of the individualized allotment issues and conclusions in a certain report made by the General Accounting Office on June 13, 1978. Requires the Secretary to submit the results of such evaluation to the Congress no later than July 1, 1982. Terminates the requirement for the Secretary to report annually to the Congress on the effect of eliminating fee charges for food stamp allotments. Eliminates the requirement for reports by: (1) the Secretary of Agriculture on the feasibility of recovering excessive food stamp benefits through Federal income tax data; and (2) the Director of the Congressional Budget Office on the review of the various consumer price indexes. Authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct two pilot projects in which households that consist entirely of recipients of aid to families with dependent children and recipients of supplemental security income under the Social Security Act, whose income does not exceed certain nonfarm income poverty guidelines, shall be deemed to have satisfied application requirements prescribed by this Act.
Authorization for Appropriations; Appropriation Accounts; Effective Dates
Increases the amount of appropriations not to be exceeded for fiscal year 1981, and sets forth such amounts for fiscal year 1982 through 1985. Directs that funds collected from claims arising under the Food Stamp Act of 1977 be credited to the food stamp appropriation account for the fiscal year in which the collection occurs. Directs that funds provided to State agencies for administrative cost-sharing be paid from such account. Makes amendments made by this Act effective upon such dates as prescribed by the Secretary, except appropriation amendments which are effective upon enactment of such Act.
Commodity Distribution Programs
Amends the Agricultural Consumer Protection Act of 1973 to extend the authority of the Secretary to purchase and distribute agricultural commodities for food assistance programs for fiscal years 1982 through 1985. Sets forth penalties for fraud under such Act.
Food Stamp Cash-Out of SSI Recipients
Directs the Secretary, upon the request of a State, to find that such State's cash payments under the Social Security Act have been specifically increased to include the bonus value of food stamps, for purposes of determining food stamp eligibility for supplemental security income recipients.
Makes the income standards for food stamp eligibility in Puerto Rico 55 percent of such standards of the 48 contiguous states. Converts the food stamp program in Puerto Rico into an annual block grant for food assistance and sets forth requirements and criteria for the Commonwealth to maintain such grant.
House Republican Conference Summary
The summary below was written by the House Republican Conference, which is the caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives.
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House Democratic Caucus Summary
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