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RULE §31.21Definitions

The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

  (1) Adjunctively income eligible--A determination that an applicant meets the income eligibility requirements by virtue of being able to document his or her eligibility for another program.

  (2) Applicant--A pregnant, breastfeeding or postpartum woman; infant; or child who is applying to receive WIC Program benefits and includes individuals who are subsequently applying after the expiration of a certification period.

  (3) Arms-length transaction--A good faith business transaction between parties, each acting voluntarily in his own self-interest, without necessary advantage to the other in a manner consistent with prevailing business practice.

  (4) Breastfeeding--The practice of feeding a mother's breastmilk to an infant on the average of at least once a day.

  (5) Breastfeeding woman--A woman up to one year postpartum who is breastfeeding.

  (6) Caretaker--An individual age 18 years or older who is related to and has custodial responsibility for a WIC Program participant during the majority of a participant's time awake each day.

  (7) Categorical eligibility--Eligibility for WIC Program benefits based on a person's status as a pregnant woman, breastfeeding woman, postpartum woman, infant, or child.

  (8) Certification--The implementation of criteria and procedures to assess and document each applicant's eligibility for the WIC Program.

  (9) Child--A person who has had his or her first birthday but has not yet had his or her fifth birthday.

  (10) Competent professional authority--An individual on the staff of the local agency authorized to determine nutritional risk and prescribe supplemental foods.

  (11) Current income--The most recent income data and documentation available to the applicant; usually the income received by the family in the month prior to application.

  (12) Disqualification--The act of ending the WIC Program participation of a participant, authorized food vendor, or authorized local agency, whether as a punitive sanction or for administrative reasons.

  (13) Dual participation--Simultaneous participation in the WIC Program through one or more WIC clinics, or participation in the WIC Program and in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program at the same time.

  (14) Family--A group of related or non-related individuals who are living together as one economic unit, except that residents of a homeless facility or institution shall not be considered members of a single family.

  (15) Federal fiscal year--The 12-month period beginning October 1 of any calendar year and ending September 30 of the following calendar year.

  (16) Food instrument--A voucher, check, electronic benefits transfer card (EBT), coupon, or other document which is used by a participant to obtain supplemental foods.

  (17) Guardian--An individual legally appointed and responsible to look after the affairs of a minor.

  (18) Homeless facility--A facility which provides meal service and is a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter (including a welfare hotel, a congregate shelter, or a shelter for victims of domestic violence) designated to provide temporary living accommodation; an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or a public or private place not designated for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

  (19) Homeless individual--A woman, infant, or child who lacks a fixed and regular nighttime residence; or whose primary nighttime residence is: a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter (including a welfare hotel, a congregate shelter, or a shelter for victims of domestic violence) designated to provide temporary living accommodation; an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; a temporary accommodation in the residence of another individual not exceeding 365 days; or a public or private place not designated for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

  (20) Infant--A person under one year of age.

  (21) Income--Gross income before deductions or net income after business deductions for farm or self-employed individuals.

  (22) Individual with disabilities--A person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; a person who has a history or record of such an impairment; or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. Major life activities include functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

  (23) Instream migrant farmworker--A migrant farmworker who follows a route or travels from state to state seeking agricultural work and is not currently at his or her home base.

  (24) Licensed wholesaler or distributor--A business licensed in accordance with the Health and Safety Code, Chapter 431, the Texas Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and Chapter 229 of this title (relating to Food and Drug).

  (25) Local agency--An entity under contract to the State agency to provide WIC Program nutrition services.

  (26) Migrant farmworker--An individual whose principle employment is in agriculture on a seasonal basis, who has been so employed within the last 24 months, and who establishes, for the purpose of such employment, a temporary abode.

  (27) Minor--A person under 18 years of age who is not and has not been married or who has not had the disabilities of minority removed for general purposes.

  (28) Newborn infant--An infant less than one month of age.

  (29) Nonprofit agency--A private agency which is exempt from income tax under the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended.

  (30) Nutrition education--A benefit offered to WIC Program participants which consists of individual or group education sessions and the provision of information and educational materials designed to improve health status, achieve positive change in dietary habits, and emphasize the relationships between nutrition and health, all in keeping with the individual's personal, cultural, and socioeconomic preferences.

  (31) Nutritional risk conditions--Detrimental or abnormal nutritional conditions detectable by biochemical or anthropometric measurements; other documented nutritionally-related medical conditions; dietary deficiencies that impair or endanger health; conditions that directly affect the nutritional health of a person; or conditions that predispose persons to inadequate nutritional patterns or nutritionally-related medical conditions, including, but not limited to, homelessness and migrancy.

  (32) Nutritional risk priorities--A system of priorities based on the participant's eligibility category (pregnant, postpartum, breastfeeding, infant, or child) and specific nutritional risk conditions with indices for identifying these conditions.

  (33) Nutritional risk priority system--A priority system which ranks participants according to the degree of need for supplemental foods represented by the nutritional risk conditions which the participant has. This system shall be used to prioritize new applicants and participants for eligibility for services when a local agency has reached its maximum participation level.

  (34) Parent--An individual's mother or father.

  (35) Participant--A pregnant woman, breastfeeding woman, postpartum woman, infant, or child who is receiving supplemental foods or food instruments under the WIC Program, and the breastfed infant of a participating breastfeeding woman.

  (36) Postpartum woman--A woman up to six months after termination of pregnancy.

  (37) Poverty income guidelines--The poverty income guidelines prescribed and adjusted annually by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, effective July 1 of each year.

  (38) Pregnant woman--A woman determined to have one or more embryos or fetuses in utero.

  (39) Price region--One or more geographic areas such as counties or zip codes with reasonably similar pricing of WIC-authorized foods grouped together for establishing vendor comparison groupings. Such areas may or may not be contiguous.

  (40) Proxy--Any person 16 years of age or older designated by a woman participant, or by a parent, guardian, or caretaker of an infant or child participant, to obtain and transact food instruments or to obtain supplemental foods on behalf of a participant. In certain circumstances, a proxy may be appointed by the state agency to transact food instruments for an infant, child, or participant under age 18 who is subject to disqualification but who would be at nutritional risk if benefits were terminated.

  (41) Regulations--United States Department of Agriculture regulations, 7 CFR Part 246.

  (42) Separate economic unit--A group of individuals who indicate that they have a source of income adequate to sustain the unit and usually purchase and prepare food separately from other individuals dwelling in the same household, or a group of individuals who intend to purchase and prepare food separately from other individuals dwelling in the same household after being certified as eligible to receive benefits from the WIC Program.

  (43) Shelf price--The price normally charged all customers by a vendor for an item sold by the vendor.

  (44) State agency--The Texas Department of Health in its role as administrator of the WIC Program.

  (45) Supplemental foods--Those foods containing nutrients determined to be beneficial for pregnant, breastfeeding, or postpartum women, infants, and children as prescribed by the United States Secretary of Agriculture.

  (46) United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)--The federal agency which funds the WIC Program.

  (47) Vendor account--A vendor approved by the state agency with one or more outlets.

  (48) Vendor agreement--The formal and legally binding agreement between the Texas Department of Health and a vendor authorized to accept and redeem WIC Program food instruments.

  (49) Vendor band--A comparison group of WIC Program vendors based on similar characteristics such as monthly WIC sales volume for each account or outlet, store size, location, number of checkout lanes, or store type.

  (50) Vendor competitive pricing--The process of comparing the cost of a standard WIC Program food package for a woman, infant, or child at an outlet to the cost of an average standard food package for the price region where the vendor is located. Vendor accounts or outlets with similar characteristics are compared within the same price region.

  (51) Vendor interactive training--A training session for vendors that includes a contemporaneous opportunity for questions and answers.

  (52) Vendor outlet--An individual store which operates and transacts WIC food instruments at a fixed location recognized by the U.S. postal system as an address, has an electric utility hook-up, is a store structure situated on a cement or pier-and-beam foundation, is not used simultaneously as a residence, has a minimum business area of 500 square feet, has clearly identifying signage, and is walk-in accessible directly from the street.

  (53) Verbal abuse--The verbal threat of physical abuse of local agency, state agency or vendor staff by a participant or a parent, guardian, client-designated proxy, state agency-appointed proxy, or caretaker of a participant. Rude, vulgar, or generally abusive language is not verbal abuse.

  (54) WIC-only store--A vendor outlet that primarily transacts WIC food instruments or transacts WIC food instruments totaling a sales volume greater than its Food Stamp Program sales volume or is not authorized by the Food Stamp Program.

  (55) WIC program--The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) authorized by the Child Nutrition Act of 1966, §17, as amended.

  (56) WIC Vendor Profile Application--A form which includes demographic, financial, and other descriptive information for each vendor outlet.

Source Note: The provisions of this §31.21 adopted to be effective August 5, 2001, 26 TexReg 5642; amended to be effective April 1, 2002, 27 TexReg 2014; amended to be effective October 1, 2003, 28 TexReg 6846

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