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SNAP: FY 24 Discretionary Exemptions for ABAWDs - Not Adjusted for Carryover

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PDF Icon Policy memo (293.58 KB)
DATE: September 25, 2023
SUBJECT: SNAP - FY 2024 Allocations of Discretionary Exemptions for Able Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDs) - Not Adjusted for Carryover
TO: All State Agencies
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (the FNA) limits the time able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) may participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to 3 months in any 36-month period, unless an individual fulfills a certain work requirement or is exempt from the time limit. The FNA allocates each state agency a number of monthly discretionary exemptions from the ABAWD time limit for each fiscal year. The number of discretionary exemptions each state agency receives is based on a percentage of the covered individuals in the state, as defined in section 6(o)(6)(A)(ii) of the FNA. As of fiscal year (FY) 2024, the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 (the FRA) decreases the percentage from 12 percent to 8 percent of covered individuals.

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) estimated the number of new discretionary exemptions each state agency has earned for FY 2024 in the second column of the attached table. State agencies that operated under a statewide waiver of the ABAWD time limit did not earn any new exemptions.

FNS is also including the total discretionary exemptions available for FY 2023 in the third column of the attached table for reference on the potential total number of discretionary exemptions available for FY 2024. FNS first published these figures in the April 19, 2023, memorandum “Fiscal Year 2023 Allocations of Discretionary Exemptions for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents.” Please note, the figures in the third column do not account for state agencies’ usage of discretionary exemptions over the course of FY 2023.

The FRA also limits the carry over of discretionary exemptions between fiscal years. In FY 2024 and FY 2025, state agencies can continue to carry over unused discretionary exemptions from prior fiscal years. Starting in FY 2026, state agencies’ carryover will be limited to unused exemptions earned in the previous fiscal year.

While state agencies have flexibility in applying discretionary exemptions, state agencies must document the use of a discretionary exemption for an individual for quality control to apply them to their review.

As a reminder, state agencies must also track their usage of discretionary exemptions on an ongoing basis and report final figures via the FNS-583 form no later than Monday, Nov. 14, 2023. Once all required data is available, FNS will issue an updated memorandum with the total number of exemptions available to each state agency for FY 2024, accounting for exemptions used in FY 2023 and caseload adjustments.

State agencies with questions regarding discretionary exemptions usage and tracking rules should contact their respective FNS regional office representative.

Moira Johnston
Acting Director
Program Development Division

Page updated: September 26, 2023