The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, as amended (the Act), limits the amount of time an able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD) can receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to 3 months in a 36-month period, unless the individual is working and/or participating in a work program half-time or more, or participating in workfare. The Act exempts individuals from the time limit for several reasons, including age, unfitness for work, or having a dependent child. The Act also provides state agencies with flexibility to request a waiver of this time limit if unemployment is high or the area does not have a sufficient number of jobs to provide employment. Moreover, the Act gives states discretion to exempt 15 percent of the individuals who would otherwise be subject to the time limit.
The Department of Agriculture's (Department's) policy goal is to address food insecurity by providing supplemental food assistance and helping able-bodied SNAP participants move out of poverty and into work in a manner that is consistent with the structure and the intent of the Act. As described in Sections 2 and 6(d) of the Act, the goals of the program are to promote food security, self-sufficiency, well-being, and economic mobility. In this Notice, the Department is seeking public input to inform potential policy, program, and regulatory changes to more consistently advance this goal.