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Specific Prior Written Approval (SPWA) Overview

Published: 59 days ago
" December 2, 2022 - CACFP CEs are required to account for costs that are necessary to run a non-profit food service accurately. The process includes maintaining documentation that demonstrates costs were paid, allowable, and comply with the program’s rules and regulations, inclusive of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS) Instruction 796-2, Rev.4.
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December 2, 2022 - 

Specific Prior Written Approval (SPWA) Overview

CACFP CEs are required to account for costs that are necessary to run a non-profit food service accurately. The process includes maintaining documentation that demonstrates costs were paid, allowable, and comply with the program’s rules and regulations, inclusive of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS) Instruction 796-2, Rev.4. FNS Instruction 796-2, Rev 4 requires that all allowable expenses be approved by TDA (and in some cases the USDA) before being included in a budget and before the CE incurs the cost. 

There are three levels of approval for program costs: (1) prior approval, (2) Specific Prior Written Approval (SPWA), and (3) approval by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Regional Office (FNSRO), depending on the amount and the category of the expense. 

Prior Approval
Budget review and approval are part of the application process, therefore, all program costs must have Prior Approval from TDA. A CE must submit a budget for approval via TXUNPS. Costs must be identified by item. TDA will review the budget and provide “prior approval” via TXUNPS.

Specific Prior Written Approval (SPWA)
If CEs are including a projected cost as part of a larger entry on a line item in a submitted budget, it may not be sufficient information to receive prior approval. In these instances, Specific Prior Written Approval (SPWA) may be needed. SPWA is required for costs which are not typically incurred in the routine operation of the CACFP. Examples include but not limited to less-than-arms-length transactions or membership fees. TDA understands these costs may be necessary and reasonable for proper and effective program operations (please refer to FNS Instruction 796-2, Rev. 4). If needed, TDA will inform CEs of the necessity for obtaining SPWA as part of the budget review and based on the information submitted. If a SPWA request is necessary, the CE must submit via the SPWA module in TX UNPS prior to the costs being incurred.

Food and Nutrition Service Regional Office (FNSRO) Approval
In some instances, FNSRO review, and approval is needed. TDA will engage FNSRO for budget review and approval, as necessary. Reminder: if TDA has approved your budget line item, it does not require SPWA and/or FNSRO approval for these costs.

When TDA conducts the administrative reviews, the approved budget and costs incurred is part of the review process. If a CE fails to obtain SPWA for a particular cost, TDA will issue a finding and the incurred cost is denied, resulting in the CE repaying the funds back to the CACFP program.

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In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at: https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/USDA-OASCR%20P-Complaint-Form-0508-0002-508-11-28-17Fax2Mail.pdf, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:

1. Mail:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
2. Fax: (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
 
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
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