The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) limits the receipt of SNAP benefits to 3 months in a 3-year period for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) who are not working, participating in, and complying with the requirements of a work program for 20 hours or more each week, or a workfare program.
- Individuals are exempt from this provision if they are:
- under 18 or 50 years of age or older,
- responsible for the care of a child or incapacitated household member,
- medically certified as physically or mentally unfit for employment, pregnant, or
- already exempt from the work requirements of the Food Stamp Act.
States may request a waiver of this provision for people in areas with an unemployment rate above 10 percent or for those in an area with insufficient jobs. States also have authority to exempt individuals using the 15% exemption authorized by the Balanced Budget Act.
States frequently assign persons subject to the ABAWD restrictions to their Employment and Training (E&T) Program. While participating in this program, ABAWDs are exempt from the ABAWD restrictions. For information on the E&T program, go to the Employment & Training page.
More information about ABAWDs
- FY 2011 Allocations of the 15 percent Exemptions for Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDS) Adjusted for Carryover (May 27, 2011)
- SNAP ABAWD Waivers for FY 2012 (May 3, 2011)
- SNAP ABAWD Waivers for FY 2011
- SNAP - Statewide Able Bodied Adults Without Dependent (ABAWD) Waivers Effective Immediately for Eligible States (Feb. 25, 2009)
- SNAP - ABAWD Statewide Waivers - New Criteria for Unemployment Insurance Extended Benefits Trigger (Jan. 8, 2009)
- 2-Year Approval of Waivers of the Work Requirements for ABAWDS (Feb. 3, 2006)
DOL Labor Surplus Area List
- FY 2012 Labor Surplus Area List
- FY 2011 Labor Surplus Area List
- FY 2010 Labor Surplus Area List
- FY 2009 Labor Surplus Area List
- FY 2008 Labor Surplus Area List
- FY 2007 Labor Surplus Area List
- FY 2006 Labor Surplus Area List