On Dec. 5, 2019, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published a final rule titled “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Requirements for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents” (84 FR 66782) (hereinafter “2019 Final Rule”). The 2019 Final Rule revised conditions under which USDA would waive, when requested by states, the able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD) time limit in areas that have an unemployment rate of over 10 percent or a lack of sufficient jobs. In addition, the 2019 Final Rule limited carryover of ABAWD discretionary exemptions.
In the Oct. 18, 2020, decision in District of Columbia, et al., v. United States Department of Agriculture, et al., No. 20-cv-00119-BAH (D.D.C. 2020), the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia vacated the 2019 Final Rule.
This rule is being promulgated to revert the language of the regulations amended by the 2019 Final Rule to that which existed prior to the 2019 Final Rule. This rule is not subject to the requirement to provide notice and an opportunity for public comments because it falls under the good cause exception at 5 USC 553(b)(B). The good cause exception is satisfied when notice and comment is “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Id. The 2019 Final Rule has already been vacated by a court of law. This rule is simply an administrative step that reverts the language of the relevant regulations to reflect the court's order vacating the 2019 Final Rule. Additionally, because this rule implements a court order already in effect, FNS has good cause to waive the 30-day effective date under 5 USC 553(d).