I have had a number of Community Action Agency directors in Alabama ask about the requirements for them to keep paper documents. Like most states, Alabama adopted the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act. That Act states, in my opinion, that electronic documents should be treated no different than paper documents. And application with an electronic signature also should be treated no different than a paper application with a signature.
Here are the state regulations:
2006 Alabama Code – Section 8-1A-7 — Legal recognition of electronic records, electronic signatures, and electronic contracts.
(a) A record or signature may not be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because it is in electronic form.
(b) A contract may not be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because an electronic record was used in its formation.
(c) If a law requires a record to be in writing, an electronic record satisfies the law.
(d) If a law requires a signature, an electronic signature satisfies the law.
(Act 2001-458, p. 597, §1.)
Now, I am not a lawyer, so I can not give you legal advice. So, I suggest you check with your legal counsel on this. And it would also be good to check with your funders if you are a Community Action Agency. Here is what CAPLAW says about electronic records for Community Action Agencies