Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Process and Technology Improvement Grants

 

Process and Technology Improvement Grants: The purpose of these grants is to support efforts by State agencies and their community-based and faith-based partners to develop and implement: 1) Simplified SNAP application and eligibility systems; or 2) Measures to improve access to SNAP benefits by eligible applicants. Grant proposals should focus on improving the quality and efficiency of operations and processes within the SNAP office.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Active
Program Number
10.580
Federal Agency/Office
Food and Nutrition Service, Department of Agriculture
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants; Z - Salaries and Expenses
Program Accomplishments
Not applicable.
Authorization
Section, 11(t), Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, as amended, 7 U.S.C. 2026(a)(a); Section 17(b)(1), 7 U.S.C. 2026(b)(1); Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, Public Law 107-171; Public Law 110-246, American Taxpayer Relief Act, Public Law 112-240
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
State agencies that administer the SNAP, State or local governments; agencies that provide health or welfare services; public health or educational entities and private nonprofit entities such as community-based or faith-based organizations, food banks, or other emergency feeding organizations.
Beneficiary Eligibility
The entities eligible to receive grants under this competition are: - The 53 State agencies that administer the SNAP; - State or local governments; - Agencies providing health or welfare services; - Public health or educational entities; and - Private non-profit entities such as community-based or faith-based organizations, food banks, or other emergency feeding organizations. (1) State agencies and State and local governments should have the necessary approvals of state officials (such as councils or legislatures) of funding prior to submitting the application. Applicants should also acknowledge in their application that all necessary approvals for funding have been obtained. (2) Non-profit organizations are required to submit a copy of the IRS Determination Letter, form 501(c)(3) or proof of application for exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, a list of their Board of Directors if applicable, and their most recent audited financial statements signed by the Treasurer or the Treasurer of the board. Educational entities are also required to submit their most recent financial statements signed by the Treasurer or Treasurer of the board. Applications submitted without these will be considered non-responsive and eliminated from consideration. All corporations, including non-profit corporations are required to complete the attached representation regarding felony convictions and tax delinquency. Agreements are established between State Agencies and FNS. States use funds to improve service to SNAP applicants and recipients.
Credentials/Documentation
Proof of non-profit status is required of nonprofit organizations and institutions. Nonprofits must also submit an IRS Determination Letter, Form 501C (3). Specific instructions provided in Request for Application.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. Special Instructions Letters of Commitment or Endorsement FNS recognizes that the grant proposals responding to this RFA will directly affect State agency operations. Therefore, if the grant proposal is from an entity other than a State agency, it must show that a State agency strongly endorses or is involved in the proposed project in order to be considered. Please refer to the two types of letters described below to determine which is appropriate to submit with your proposal. Please note that State agencies are able to submit an application on their own in which case a letter of endorsement is needed. If the State agency is partnering with another entity on the project a letter of commitment from that entity is required. State agencies may choose to submit an application on their own as well as additional application(s) with other organizations. Please refer to the section above on “Limitations on the Number of Applications.” Applications that require a letter of commitment or a letter of endorsement which fail to provide one will be considered non-responsive and eliminated from consideration. FNS will NOT consider additions or revisions to applications once they are received. Therefore, unless the applicant is a State agency submitting an application on its own, a letter of commitment or letter of endorsement must be include the application package to be considered for funding. Such letters may be addressed to the FNS Grant Officer. A Letter of Commitment is required if the grant proposal is from a State agency working in partnership with another organization(s). The letter(s) of commitment must describe: - the organization’s role in the project, - the amount of time it intends to commit to the project and an attestation that it will cooperate with the grant applicant in implementing the project, and - must be provided on the respective organization’s letterhead and be signed by an authorizing individual. A Letter of Endorsement is required if an applicant is not partnering with a State agency. The State agency’s letter of endorsement must: - explain that the State agency is aware of the projected impact on its system and is supportive of the proposed project, and - be on the respective State agency’s letterhead and be signed by an authorizing official.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Application packages should be prepared in accordance with instructions in a specific Request for Application (RFA) and submitted to grants.gov by the specific deadline.
Award Procedure
Following the initial screening process, FNS will assemble a peer panel group to review and determine the technical merits of each application. The peer panel will evaluate the proposals based on how well they address the required application components. The peer panel members will recommend applications for consideration for a grant award based on the evaluation scoring. The selecting official reserves the right to award a grant to meet agency priorities, program balance, geographical representation, or project diversity. The selecting official will consider the panel recommendations. In general, awards will be based on rank funding order. However, FNS reserves the right to fund out of rank order to achieve agency priorities (such as to grant an award to an entity that includes a joint effort between a State agency and a community-based or faith-based organization, demographic, or socioeconomic diversity, etc.). If the panel review indicates that FNS has received few or no technically acceptable proposals, the selecting official may determine that FNS will make no awards, or commit less than the $5 million set aside for this purpose.
Deadlines
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Provided in Request for Application.
Appeals
Instructions provided in Request for Application.
Renewals
Instructions provided in Request for Application.
How are proposals selected?
The review panel to score and rank applications uses Technical Review Criteria which includes: (1) Project Design; (2) Budget Appropriateness and Economic Efficiency; (3) Organizational Experience and Management/Staff Capability; (4) Evaluation; and (5) Presentation.
How may assistance be used?
Funds for PTIG projects are to be used to improve the quality and efficiency of operations within SNAP offices. Examples of how grants funds can be used include: 1) Upgrades to SNAP eligibility systems; 2) Upgrades or implementation of workflow management systems for caseworkers; 3) Document imaging systems; 4) Mobile technology such as the use of web platforms that send text message alerts and reminders directly to client or apps designed for tablets and smartphones which allow clients to upload documents and review and update their case information; 5) Contractual services related to Business Process Reengineering (BPR), etc. Pre-award costs will not be awarded for this grant project. Projects predicated on waiving SNAP regulations are not allowable and will not be considered for funding. However, if during the grant period, a State agency determines a waiver is needed, the State may apply for one but there is no guarantee FNS will approve the waiver. No more than 25 percent of the grant funds may be used for outreach activities. Applications must comply with criteria listed in the Request for Application package.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Reporting
Performance Reports: Final report and major change reporting, if applicable.
Auditing
Not applicable.
Records
State agencies must maintain records as necessary to support the use of SNAP Grant funds in accordance with the Grant Agreement. Such records must be retained for a period of 3 years after the date of submission of the final report for the fiscal year to which the records pertain, except that if audit findings have not been resolved, the records shall be retained beyond the 3-year period as long as required for the resolution of the issues raised by the audit.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Grantees will be allowed to use the grant funds for the duration of the 3 year project period. Grants awarded in FY19 will be funded for the period of September 30, 2019, through September 30, 2022. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: Letter.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
Not applicable.
Headquarters Office
Mary Rose Conroy
3101 Park Center Drive, 8th floor
Alexandria, VA 22302 US
maryrose.conroy@usda.gov
Phone: 703-305-2803
Website Address
https://www.fns.usda.gov/grant-opportunities
Financial Information
Account Identification
12-3505-0-1-605
Obligations
(Salaries and Expenses) FY 18$5,000,000.00; FY 19 est $5,000,000.00; FY 20 est $5,000,000.00; FY 17$5,000,000.00; FY 16 est $5,000,000.00; - FNS is authorized to award up to $5 million annually in Process and Technology Improvement Grants (PTIG). The grant awards are multiyear money intended to fund projects for a 3 year period, and are contingent on the availability of funds.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
See: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/fy2019-snap-process-and-technology-improvement-grants FNS anticipates awarding between 6 and 11 awards annually.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Process and Technology Improvement Grants: 7 CFR Part 3015, 7 CFR Part 3016, 7CFR Part 3017, 7 CFR Part 3021, 7 CFR Part 3019.
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2017 Currently unavailable.
Fiscal Year 2016 Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DE) – will design, develop, and implement a triage solution in each of its 18 local SNAP offices. A Triage Specialist will be stationed in the lobby area of each location to welcome clients as they enter and perform “triage” on the purpose for their visit. Triage Specialists will be equipped with a tablet that has a camera and wireless access which will enable them to connect to DE Worker Web application and view case status information. The Triage Specialist will be able to take photos of the client’s supporting documentation and email the photos to the Document Imaging System (DIS) Inbox, renewals Inbox, or other designated email inboxes. One of the applications available on the tablet will be a cloud-hosted rules-based expert system that will contain rules and decision logic to assist the Triage Specialist in addressing clients’ needs. The application will prescreen for potential eligibility but will not determine benefit amounts. This will help Triage Specialists accurately address a wide variety of client questions. Awarded: $667,618 Florida Department of Children and Families (FL) – will use grant funds to improve the EBT card replacement and address change reporting process for SNAP recipients. System programmers will make changes to existing software to allow clients to report if their EBT card was Lost, Stolen, or Damaged and submit a request for a replacement EBT card in the web-based self-service portal. The EBT vendor will make changes to existing software to interface with the State’s eligibility system to allow the EBT system to accept the transmission of a replacement card request, change the status accordingly, and also create the necessary logs for tracking and reporting purposes. This will streamline the replacement EBT card process and improve the accuracy of the mailing addresses on file for clients. In turn, this will reduce the amount of returned mail and provide replacement cards to customers in a timely manner. Awarded: $447,282 Maryland Department of Human Resources (MD) – will use grant funds to better coordinate case management service across American Job Centers, community-based SNAP E&T providers, and local Departments of Social Services. DHR will pilot the implementation of ICF Incorporated’s proprietary tool, wQ®, in Baltimore City and the eight Maryland counties that have implemented FNS Able-bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD) time-limit waivers. DHR will integrate wQ® with the existing Maryland Workforce Exchange (MWE) and a suite of SNAP E&T tools. By sharing key client information collected in wQ® with the MWE system, DHR hopes to increase the rate of referral to MWE by SNAP caseworkers and partners, simplify the registration of clients into MWE, improve the usage of MWE by SNAP clients, and ultimately help SNAP clients meet their work requirements on their pathways to self-sufficiency. Awarded: $723,065 Missouri Department of Social Services (MO) – will use grant funds to rewrite the MO Benefit Center platform using Microsoft .NET to enable mobile capability. The project will also expand the customer portal to offer self-service functionality which will include the ability to submit a SNAP application, report changes in household circumstances, and provide the option to receive automated reminder calls or text messages. New geographic information will also be available on the MO Benefit Center website to help clients locate the nearest food bank, resource centers, Veteran’s Affairs facilities and Workforce Development Job Centers. Awarded: $955,035 Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NE) – this project consists of three initiatives to achieve customer service outcomes to improve access to SNAP benefits by eligible applicants. 1) Workforce optimization software will be purchased to provide information to managers and supervisors needed for scheduling or forecast staffing. 2) Communication boards will be purchased and a network will be developed to connect the dashboard programming to the operating systems (phone, document management, and eligibility). Changes to the N-FOCUS eligibility system will be made to create automated lists of clients who consent to receive text message alerts along with their phone number and a daily file of text messages to be sent. Text reminders will be sent to clients to alert them if verification is needed, if recertification is due, changes in case status, and other changes affecting eligibility. This will serve as a complement to mailed or emailed notices for those who have opted to receive electronic notices through Nebraska’s FNS approved Electronic Notice waiver. Awarded: $607,000 Info Line of San Diego 2-1-1 (CA) – will use funding to connect three systems as part of the region-wide data exchange. Through this project, the telephone system (inContact), the appointment setting system (TimeTrade), and a new text messaging system will auto-populate information into 2-1-1’s Client Management System (Salesforce). This information will interface and ultimately 2-1-1’s client records will be accessible to the County of San Diego as part of a community-wide initiative to streamline client access to services and to share client data across stakeholders. The County will be able to see relevant pieces of work completed prior to an application being submitted by 2-1-1 along with relevant data that the client shared. Awarded: $100,000 Washington Department of Social and Health Services (WA) – will use grant funds to develop a mobile app that will provide SNAP clients and applicants with the ability to upload documents, review, and update their case information using an app designed for smartphones and tablets. This project will also enable DSHS to use web platforms to send text message alerts and reminders to clients informing them of upcoming appointments or needed documentation. Awarded: $1,500,000

 


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