In response to substantive comments like the one submitted by CLS, FNS issued a new interim final rule in January 2017.
In direct response to commenters’ concerns, the interim rule required that a prorated amount of SNAP benefits be returned to residents leaving these facilities even after the 16th.
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Because SNAP-eligible residents in facilities can be blind, disabled, or coping with addiction, CLS noted that they are particularly vulnerable and may not be capable of navigating SNAP requirements alone.
CLS recommended that the regulation require facilities to submit a change form on behalf of the resident and give that resident any information required to continue receiving SNAP.
In recognition of the significant historical, cultural, and spiritual connections between tribes and park lands, the National Park Service (NPS) issued a final rule allowing federally-recognized tribes to apply for approval to gather and remove plants used for traditional purposes.
The NPS’s effort at continuing historical religious practices may undermine their sacredness, however, as the documentation of tribal practices needed to secure an approval is inconsistent with tribal oral traditions and secrecy around spiritual sites.
It also required that centers provide the resident with a change form and notify the state agency of any changes that SNAP requires be reported, including a new address.
In making these changes, the agency decided against first issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking so as to ensure that benefits could be returned to vulnerable program participants as soon as possible.