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Balanced Budget Act of 1977 - Q&As Set 2

EO Guidance Document #
FNS-GD-1998-0007
Resource type
FAQs/Q&As
Guidance Documents
Resource Materials
PDF Icon a-QA_SET2.pdf (101.43 KB)

Q1. Can a state agency make multiple claims for reimbursement for the same able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD)? For example, if an ABAWD fills a workfare slot for six months, how much reimbursement may a state agency claim? If an ABAWD fills a workfare slot in January, leaves the program in February, then returns in March and fills another workfare slot, how much reimbursement may a state agency claim? If an ABAWD is placed in a workfare component one month and a education/training program in the next month, can the state agency claim two filled slots?
A1. Yes, a state agency may claim multiple reimbursements for the same ABAWD. A state agency may claim reimbursement at the filled slot rate ($175) for every month in which the ABAWD participates in a workfare or 20-hour-a-week education/training component. If an ABAWD is in a workfare program for six months, even if he/she has a different work assignment in each of the months, the state agency is entitled to $175 every month for the six months, or $1,050. The same holds true if the ABAWD is in a workfare program one month and an education/training program the next.

A state agency may also claim both "offered" and "filled" slot rates for the same ABAWD. If an ABAWD refuses a work slot in one month, but accepts it in another, the state agency may claim $30 for the offered slot in the first month and $175 for the filled slot in the second. In cases in which an ABAWD participates in a qualifying work activity in January, leaves the program in February, then returns in March and again participates in a qualifying work activity, the state agency may claim reimbursement for a filled slot for every month in which the ABAWD participates in a qualifying work activity. In this case, the state agency may claim $175 for both January and March, or $350.

Please note, however, a state agency may not claim multiple reimbursements for the same ABAWD in the same month. For example, if an ABAWD participates in both a 20-hour-a-week training component and a workfare program in the same month, the state agency may only claim a $175 reimbursement for that month. State agencies are reimbursed not for creating slots but for placing ABAWDs in work components that keep them eligible for the Food Stamp Program. Since the two slots are only keeping one ABAWD eligible for the program, the state agency may claim reimbursement for only one filled slot.

Q2. Do state agencies get the $175 rate for filling a slot if a new ABAWD fills that slot every month?
A2. Yes, if a state agency fills a work slot in six successive months with six different ABAWDs, the state agency may claim $1,050—$175 for each month. It is important to remember, however, that state agencies are reimbursed not for creating work slots but for placing ABAWDs in qualifying work activities. A state agency that creates 10 work slots that it neither offers to, nor fills with, ABAWDs, cannot claim any reimbursement for the cost of creating the slots. However, a state agency that assigns two ABAWDs to the same work slot (one to work four hours in the morning, the other four hours in the afternoon), may claim reimbursement for two filled slots.

Q3. In general, what will be adequate for a state agency to establish and document an "offered" slot? With this issue under consideration, please advise whether any of the following situations would be an "offered" slot: a. An ABAWD is asked to come in to receive an offer for a slot that the state agency has secured. No information about the slot is specified to the ABAWD in the request to come in. The ABAWD does not show up. b. An ABAWD is asked to come in to receive an offer for a slot that the state agency has secured. Information (i.e., the slot's nature and site) about the slot is specified to the ABAWD in the request to come in. The ABAWD does not show up. What basic information (if any) must be provided in the request to the ABAWD to come in to earn reimbursement for an "offered" slot if the ABAWD does not show up?
A3. For a work slot to qualify as offered, the ABAWD must be informed of the location of the work assignment, the date he/she is scheduled to appear, and the time he/she is required to report. In the above question, neither scenario a nor b qualify as an offered slot.

Q4. If an ABAWD meets the work requirement by employment of at least 20 hours per week, would the employment count as a filled slot?
A4. No. state agencies may only claim the costs incurred in placing ABAWDs in qualifying workfare or education/training slots. State agencies incur no allowable costs if an ABAWD is already working (cost associated with monitoring the ABAWD’s employment would be included as certification costs). If , however, an ABAWD secures employment of at least 20 hours a week during the one-month job search period allowable under a workfare program, the state agency may claim the cost of a filled slot for that month since the household participated in workfare for that month.

Q5. In the guidance there are several references to the component reimbursement rates as being the "maximum amount" — does this imply that there may be circumstances under which FNS decides on a lower reimbursement rate?
A5. State agencies may claim the actual cost of placing ABAWDs in qualifying workfare and education/training slots up to the reimbursement rate. For example, if it costs a state agency $20,000 to create 100 filled workfare slots in a fiscal year, the state agency may only claim $17,500 of its federal 100 percent E&T grant to cover the cost of those slots—the maximum amount state agencies may spend to create 100 filled work slots under the reimbursement rates. If, however, creating 100 filled workfare slots costs the state agency $16,000, the state agency may only claim $16,000 of its federal 100 percent E&T grant to cover the cost of those slots—the actual costs the state agency incurred to create the filled work slots.

Q6. There is a statement in the guidance that "the rates represent a monthly average, although reconciliation will be conducted on a yearly basis." What does this mean?
A6. The reimbursement rates represent the maximum amount, on average, that FNS expects state agencies will need to spend in a month to create a qualifying workfare or education/training slot. FNS will not compare the cost of any particular slot in any given month against the rates. Instead, FNS will determine the maximum amount a state agency can be reimbursed for creating the number of filled and offered slots it reported in a fiscal year and compare that amount against what the state agency actually spent in 100% E&T funding. This procedure allows state agencies to average the cost of creating slots—i.e., balance the cost of higher priced slots with lower costing slots—and still fall within the rate structure.

Q7. What is the status of an ABAWD who has agreed to begin the workfare program and is in the 30 day job search phase pending placement on a site? Is this person counted as filling a slot when he/she signs the workfare contract or is he/she counted as "offered" a slot and then filling a slot when he/she moves from the 30 day job search into a workfare position?
A7. Section 20(e) of the Food Stamp Act allows a 30-day job search period for workfare components prior to making a workfare assignment. ABAWDs who are engaged in this job search period are considered to be complying with workfare requirements and therefore are in a filled slot and state agencies may claim up to $175 to cover the cost of the slot. At the end of the job search period, however, ABAWDs who have not found employment must be offered a workfare assignment.

Q8. Are state agencies expected to meet their administrative costs with the component reimbursement funds?
A8. Yes. All administrative costs connected with an ABAWD’s participation in a qualifying workfare or education/training slot, including such things as intake and monitoring compliance, are included as costs of creating a qualifying work opportunity for an ABAWD.

Q9. Since the reimbursement rates will not be implemented until 10/1/98, how and on what basis will FNS monitor state agency FY 98 expenditures to determine that "the amounts reflect the reasonable cost of efficiently and economically providing appropriate slots?"
A9. FNS will review state agency expenditures of FY 1998 100 percent E&T funding in the same way it has in past years. FNS will compare actual expenditures with projected expenditures in E&T state Plans to be sure that the money was spent consistent with state agencies’ E&T goals. (Maintenance of Effort)

Q10. State agencies continue to be concerned about the limitations imposed on E&T by the long standing $25 per participant per month (matched at a 50% rate by FNS) reimbursement for transportation and other work related expenses. Is consideration being given either to increasing the $25 reimbursable limit or to permitting use of the 100% E&T grant for such costs?
A10. No. In the first instance, Congress has at times considered raising the reimbursement rates but has not yet chosen to do so. In the second instance, the Food Stamp Act, at section 16(h)(3), prohibits the use of 100 percent Federal E&T grant funds to reimburse participant expenses.

Q11. Can state agencies spend 50/50 money on whichever portion of the food stamp population they want, or must it be spent on ABAWDs?
A11. State agencies are not required to spend their 50/50 money on ABAWDs. Section 6(d)(4)(K) of the Food Stamp Act, however, limits expenditures of 100 percent and 50/50 money on Title IV participants to the amount spent by a state agency on such recipients in FY 95. Only four state agencies spent any money on Title IV recipients in FY 95—Colorado, Vermont, Utah, and Wisconsin. In addition, state agency maintenance of effort (MOE) funds may not be spent on participant reimbursements.

Q12. If, in FY 1998, a state agency spends more than 20 percent of its 100 percent federal E&T grant on nonABAWD activities, is the amount over 20 percent a total state agency expense, or is it subject to federal matching?
A12. The amount of money spent over the allowable 20 percent would be matched at the 50 percent rate by FNS.

Q13. If the actual amount of 100 percent federal funds reimbursed to a state agency for offered and filled work slots is less than the state agency’s total allocation, will the MOE requirement be reduced accordingly?
A13 No. The Balanced Budget Act did not provide FNS with discretion to apportion a state agency’s allocation of the supplemental E&T funding provided by that Act based on the percentage of the MOE a state agency chooses to meet. The law requires that to receive any portion of the supplemental funding provided by the Balanced Budget Act, a state agency must satisfy in its entirety its maintenance of effort requirement.

Q14. Will FNS still continue to match state agencies’ MOE at 50 percent?
A14. Yes. All allowable expenditures of state agency funds on E&T with be matched at the 50 percent rate. (Alternative to the Reimbursement Rates)

Q15. In an Alternative Program proposal, must the program serve every applicant and participant? Would it be acceptable to serve only participants?
A15. Under the alternative program, participating state agencies must offer a qualifying work opportunity to every ABAWD applicant who has exhausted the time limit as well as ABAWD participants who have exhausted the time limit. Participating state agencies will not have to offer a qualifying workfare or education/training slot to applicants or participants who have not exhausted the time limit.

Q16 Concerning the alternative to the reimbursement rates, is it limited to availability of funding or must state agencies invest additional state agency dollars to guarantee placements? Some limitation based on the availability of funding should be included.
A16. State agencies that operate the alternative program to the reimbursement rate structure will be required to offer a qualifying work opportunity to every ABAWD who has exhausted the time limit.

Q17. Is selection of states to operate under the Reimbursement Rate alternative based primarily on the size of the ABAWD population in the elected states, rather than on a given state agency’s track record in providing the required services to all ABAWDs from the inception of the ABAWD program? This could reward state agencies with a history of high caseloads and minimal service.
A17. Selection of states to operate the alternative program to the reimbursement rate structure will be based primarily on a state agency’s demonstrated ability to offer a work opportunity to every ABAWD who has exhausted the time limit. Other factors that will be considered in making the selections include the size of state agencies caseloads, state agencies’ proposals for ensuring compliance with the requirement of the alternative, and plans for corrective action if compliance is not being met. (Reallocation of Unused E&T Funding)

Q18. When will state agencies know what their allocations for FY 99 will be? State agencies need to know this as soon as possible to determine whether and what to include in their alternate to the reimbursement rate proposals for FY 99 due on 5/1/98 along with the FY 98 plans. State agencies also need this information to develop their programs for FY 99 in plans due on 8/15/98.
A18. FNS recognizes the importance of this information to state agencies in planning their E&T programs and we will issue it as soon as data is available.

Q19. Can 100 percent money which a state agency receives in FY 98 but does not spend be rolled over into the next year?
A19. Yes. State agencies may carry over any 100 percent Federal FY 98 E&T funding which they do not expend in FY 98 into FY 99.

Q20. In FY 99 can a state agency draw down, in advance of a determination of the number of their filled or offered work slots, a portion of their 80 percent funds? The remainder of their reimbursement would be made after the number of slots has been determined.
A20. State agencies may begin obligating their FY 99 E&T funds on 10/01/98. A state agency’s ability to access its FY 99 E&T funding is in no way tied to the number of work slots the state agency anticipates creating during the fiscal year, although such considerations may affect the state agency’s decision as to when and how to spend its funds.

Q21. If a state agency serves enough ABAWDs to exhaust 80 percent of its 100 percent allocation, how does it request additional 100 percent funds from the funds unexpended by other state agencies?
A21. State agencies that seek additional 100 percent E&T funding from amounts unused by other state agencies should make a written request to their FNS regional office. Please note, however, that because state agencies will be allowed to carry over into FY 99 any unused FY 98 E&T funds, FNS does not foresee national reallocation of any 100 percent E&T funding in FY 98 except in cases in which a state agency declines all or part of its E&T allocation.

Q22. What is the definition of ABAWD being used by FNS to determine a state agency’s allocation of 100 percent funds? We are particularly interested in how "without dependents" is defined.
A22. When determining each state agency’s allocation of FY 98 federal 100 percent E&T funding, FNS defined "dependents" as children 18 or younger. (Reporting Requirements)

Q23. What revisions will be made to the FNS-583 report and when will the report be available?
A23. The FNS-583 will be revised to make space for state agencies to report the numbers of filled and offered workfare and education/training slots, broken out between waived and unwaived areas of the state, as well as information on the amount of federal 100 percent funding state agencies spent to create workfare and education/training slots. Also, requests for some types of information currently required on the form that are no longer necessary as a result of changes made by PROWRA and the Balanced Budget Act will be removed.

Q24. In what quarter will the new reporting requirements begin?
A24. State agencies should begin reporting how much of their 100 percent E&T grant was expended on ABAWD qualifying activities as soon as possible but no later than the third quarter FNS-583. The FNS-583 for the 4th quarter must include a breakdown of 100 percent E&T funding by money spent on ABAWD qualifying activities and money spent on non-ABAWDs for all of FY 98. Also, although the component reimbursement rates are not effective until FY 99, FNS would appreciate available information on the number of filled and offered workfare and education/training slots a state agency created.

Q25. Will additional reporting requirements be added to the FNS 269?
A25. No changes are planned to the FNS-269. (State Agency E&T Plan Requirements)

Q26. Are FY 98 E&T state plans and reporting subject to any retroactive requirements?
A26. Although component reimbursement rates do not go into effect until FY 99, the requirement that at least 80 percent of a state agency’s E&T allocation be expended only on qualifying activities for ABAWDs was effective 10/1/97. In their FY 98 E&T state plans state agencies must address E&T activities for the entire fiscal year, not just the period May 1 (the due date of E&T state plans) to the end of the year. In regard to reporting, state agencies must submit information, on at least the FNS-583 for the final quarter of FY 98, on how much of the 100 percent grant was utilized on ABAWD qualifying activities during the fiscal year.

Q27. Should the FY 98 E&T State Plan be written according to the format in the E&T State Plan Handbook revised 5/94?
A27. Yes, State agencies should follow the same format wherever possible. FNS does hope to issue a revised handbook in time for the FY 99 plan.

Q28. What should the E&T State Plan look like if a state agency has no ABAWD program?
A28. The plan should look generally the same as plans in prior fiscal years.

Q29. Is the FY 98 plan intended to cover FY 98 only, or should state agencies be submitting plans that will describe in detail how their E&T programs will look for the next two or more years?
A29. The FY 98 plan is intended to cover FY 98 only. Plans for FY 99 will be due to the regional offices by August 15, 1998. (Qualifying Activities)

Q30. Given that work experience is a qualifying work activity, may state agencies place an ABAWD into a full time job opportunity permitting the employer to audition the ABAWD for the job up to the FLSA hour limits in one month (approximately 20 to 25 hours)? This audition would be considered "work experience". This would count as a slot placement (i.e. filled) at $175 for the one month. The hoped for success would be a hiring of the auditioned (ABAWD) employee by the employer. If no permanent job results, the ABAWD would enter another qualifying activity.
A30. Such a program appears to meet the requirements of section 273.7(f)(1)(iv) of Food Stamp Program regulations, which define allowable work experience components. A state agency wishing to pursue such a program must describe it in greater detail in its E&T State Plan for a more in-depth review.

Q31. In the example above of an ABAWD placed in a job audition, is it acceptable if the job is with a private employer?
A31. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 removed the requirement that employment experience assignments be limited to projects that serve a useful public purpose. It may be possible, therefore, to place individuals in work experience programs in private sector positions. However, other federal laws beside the Food Stamp Act, including the Fair Labor Standards Act, govern the rights of recipients assigned to positions with for-profit employers. Until all the issues arising from the requirements of these various laws are resolved, state agencies may find it safest to restrict work experience slots to non-profit and public employment. Please note that, in workfare programs, ABAWDs may only be assigned to work slots in public or private non-profit entities.

Q32. Would placement in a Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) program count as a filled slot?
A32. Yes, a program under the JTPA meets the requirements of a qualifying work program as defined at Section 6(o) of the Food Stamp Act. The JTPA component must be fully described in the E&T State Plan and must be included in the budget process.

Q33. How many hours can the job search be when required during the first 30 days of a workfare program?
A33. Food Stamp regulations at 7 CFR 273.22(f)(3) provide that the job search requirements during the first 30 days of participation in a workfare component be the same as those under 7 CFR 273.7. Regulations at 7 CFR 273.7(f)(1) establish an acceptable level of effort for E&T components that is comparable to spending 12 hours a month for 2 months making job contacts. In the case of the first 30 days of job search in a workfare component, an ABAWD must participate in job search for at least 12 hours a month. State agencies have the discretion to require ABAWDs to conduct more than 12 hours a month of job search in the first 30 days of workfare, although FNS will review the hourly requirement to insure that it is reasonable.

Q34. If the intent of the ABAWD work requirement is to provide opportunities for individuals to maintain food stamp eligibility, will state agencies receive any credit for assisting an ABAWD in obtaining unsubsidized employment that would render the individual ineligible for food stamps?
A34. If the assistance is provided to the ABAWD as part of a work program that meets the requirements of Section 6(o) of the Food Stamp Act and in which the ABAWD is participating for at least 20 hours a week, then a state agency may claim reimbursement for a filled slot for the months in which the ABAWD participates in the work program. For example, if a work program includes a job placement service in which ABAWDs, after undergoing job training, are placed in suitable employment, the state agency may claim reimbursement for a filled slot for the months the ABAWD participated in the program. The state agency may not claim reimbursement for a filled slot for assisting an ABAWD in locating employment through a job search or job search training program.

Q35. Can contractors who place clients into workfare slots be for-profit entities? Can the clients be placed in work slots that are either for profit or public service?
A35. Workfare "operating agencies" may contract with for–profit entities to create workfare slots. However, food stamp regulations at 7 CFR 273.22(c)(2) require that workfare slots be located only in public or private nonprofit agencies.

Q36. Could we require recipients to participate in workfare in combination with other acceptable activities to reach the required 20 hours a week participation?
A36. There is no minimum hourly requirement for workfare programs. A household’s monthly workfare obligation is determined by dividing the household’s monthly food stamp allotment by the higher of the applicable state or federal minimum wage. The result is the number of hours the household is obligated to participate in workfare during the month. It is unnecessary for state agencies to combine an ABAWD’s workfare participation with participation in an education/training component to retain the ABAWD’s eligibility for the Food Stamp Program.

Q37. What are acceptable activities for E&T recipients? Are ABAWD acceptable activities different from other E&T participants? When an ABAWD is in his/her first three months of participation, are job search and/or job training acceptable activities?
A37. Allowable components of state agency E&T programs are defined at Section 273.7(f)(1). These components include job search, job search training, workfare, work experience, education, and self-employment programs. The components of E&T programs that keep ABAWDs eligible for the Food Stamp Program are described at Section 6(o) of the Food Stamp Act. These include work programs in which ABAWDs participate at least 20-hours-a-week and workfare. Twenty-hour-a-week work programs include all of the allowable E&T components defined at section 273.7(f)(1) except job search and job search training programs. ABAWDs may participate in job search and job search training programs in their first three months of participation. However, since neither activity meets the definition of a qualifying work activity at Section 6(o) of the Food Stamp Act, every month an ABAWD participates in job search or job search training, but does not otherwise meet the work requirement, will count toward the 3-month time limit. The only exception is when the job search occurs during the first 30 days of the ABAWD’s participation in a workfare program.

Q38. How is training defined? Please share examples of acceptable training. Is there a maximum length of time a recipient can participate in a training activity?
A38. Training in the Food Stamp Program is defined as programs or activities designed to improve the employability of participants. The number of months a participant spends in a training component is determined by the state agency. The total hours of participation in an E&T component for any household member individually in any month, together with any hours worked in a workfare program and any hours worked for compensation (in cash or in kind) cannot exceed 120.

Q39. Is an ABAWD workfare assignment based on the individual’s portion of the Food Stamp allotment or the total allotment for the household?
A39. Workfare obligations are determined by dividing the household’s allotment by the minimum wage. If there is more than one individual in a household subject to workfare, the state agency may distribute the workfare obligation among household members as it chooses.

Q40. Is a 30-day job search period allowed for workfare components of state agency E&T programs as well as optional programs and comparable workfare programs, and if so, is it an allowable expenditure toward meeting the 80 percent use of funds requirement?
A40. The 30-day job search period is allowed only in workfare programs, including E&T workfare components, that guarantee the participant a slot at the end of the 30-day period if the participant does not find a job. The 30-day job search period is not allowed in comparable workfare programs, in which a participant seeks his/her own workfare slot, because the participant is not guaranteed a workfare slot at the end of the job search period.

Q41. Apart from the 30–day workfare job search period, are any other job search activities allowed for ABAWDs?
A41. The Food Stamp Act specifically excludes job search or job search training programs as qualifying work programs that will keep ABAWDs eligible for food stamps. However, we do not believe that the Act precludes state agencies from requiring ABAWDs to conduct some job search activities while participating in a qualifying work program. However, in any given month education and training activities must account for the majority of the time spent in the component. For example, an ABAWD participating in an E&T training component might be required to combine 15 hours of classroom instruction with five hours of job search to meet the 20–hour per week requirement. State agencies that choose to include some job search activity in an education/training component must provide detailed information about the activity. FNS reserves the right to deny approval for such activities if, in our opinion, they violate the requirements of the Act. Alternatively, state agencies can, in accordance with the Food Stamp Act, require an individual to participate in an E&T program for up to 120 hours a month, less any hours of workfare participation and/or any work hours. Therefore, state agencies have the option of requiring an ABAWD to participate in a qualifying work program for at least 20 hours a week and conduct a job search up to the maximum monthly hours of participation.

Q42. Do the existing definitions of workfare programs still apply?
A42. Yes. The Balanced Budget Act made no changes to Section 20 of the Food Stamp Act, which contains the requirements for workfare programs.

Q43. How is an education and/or training slot designated as "qualifying" for ABAWDs—through the E&T State Plan approval process or some other way?
A43. State agency education and training programs must be described in the E&T State Plan and approved by FNS. Use of Funds

Q44. What are the start-up costs that state agencies may incur designing the infrastructures for their new E&T programs?
A44. Few state agencies currently operate workfare programs as components of their E&T programs and FNS anticipates that state agencies could incur costs as they begin developing workfare slots. Costs associated with developing workfare slots could result from hiring job developers, negotiating with nonprofit entities, or designing or making revisions to automated systems. In addition, state agencies may incur costs as they redesign their education/training programs. Formerly these programs usually focused on monitoring participant’s job contacts for 24 hours/month. The requirement that education/training components provide at least 20 hours of activity a week will likely require state agencies to redesign these programs and invest greater resources and staff time than previously.

Q45. If the amount spent by a state agency exceeds the reimbursement rates and the state agency is required to pay the excess amount with 50 percent matched funds, will the excess amount count towards meeting the 80 percent expenditure requirement for ABAWDs?
A45. No. The 80 percent use of funds requirement applies only to the 100 percent federal E&T grant. Because any money a state agency expends over the reimbursement rates will count as state—not federal—money, that money could not count toward meeting the 80 percent requirement.

Q46. Can state agencies contract with Employment Services to do placement? Is that an allowable cost?
A46. Yes. State agencies may contract with their state employment services agencies to place ABAWDs in qualifying workfare and education/training slots. The cost of the contracts count as a cost of developing the slots.

Q47. Will there be a transition period to allow state agencies a time to develop their service strategies and reach capacity in order to comply with the new regulations and serve clients appropriately?
A47. E&T component reimbursement rates are not effective until 10/01/98. In FY 1998, therefore, state agencies will be reimbursed for the actual costs (with no ceiling) that they incur as they redesign their E&T programs to meet the new requirements.

Q48. Do state agencies have the option to not utilize the 80% funding? Would they be in compliance with E&T mandates if they administered the E&T program using only the 20 percent portion of the unmatched funding, to serve only non-ABAWD mandatory food stamp work registrants?
A48. State agencies do not have to utilize the 80 percent funding reserved for ABAWD-qualifying activities. The Food Stamp Act requires all states to operate an E&T program but does not require states to serve ABAWDs in those programs. State agencies, therefore, may administer their E&T programs using only the 20 percent portion of their 100 percent federal E&T allocations and serve only non-ABAWD mandatory food stamp work registrants.

Q49. Are state agencies required to meet a specific performance standard?
A49. No. The requirement for state agencies to meet performance standards in their E&T programs was removed under PRWORA. Allocation of the 100 percent federal E&T grant is now based entirely on each state’s proportion of ABAWDs.

Q50. Can a state agency spend all of its 100 percent funds on its ABAWD population?
A50. Yes. The Balanced Budget Act set no maximum limit on the amount of federal E&T funding a state agency may spend to serve ABAWDs.

Q51. Can a state agency purchase vehicles to transport E&T participants to and from E&T components using its federal 100 percent E&T grant or using 50 percent administrative match funds?
A51. Yes. In a policy memorandum dated May 19, 1989, we established that a state agency may purchase a vehicle with E&T funds. The expenses involved with the operation and care of the vehicles are also chargeable to E&T funds. Alternatively, state agencies may contract with a private carrier or with a service organization that provides vehicles to the state agency at a mileage or fixed rate and/or provides maintenance, inspection and repair services. (E&T Sanctions)

Q52. Are ABAWDs who fail to satisfy a work requirement subject to both E&T noncompliance sanctions and the 3-month time limit? For example, what action should a state agency take if an ABAWD in the first month of eligibility fails to appear at a scheduled workfare assignment? What action should a state agency take in the case of an ABAWD who has used up his/her three months of eligibility, has been participating in a qualifying workfare program for a few months, and then suddenly stops participating?
A52. ABAWDs who do not comply with food stamp E&T requirements are subject to both the 3–month time limit and E&T sanctions. In the case of an ABAWD who fails to satisfy a work requirement in the first month of eligibility, the state agency must disqualify the ABAWD in accordance with Section 6(d) of the Food Stamp Act and count that month as one month of the ABAWD’s 3 months of eligibility. In the case of an ABAWD who has exhausted his/her 3 months of eligibility and ceases participation in a qualifying work activity, the ABAWD must be disqualified for noncompliance with E&T work requirements in accordance with section 6(d) of the Food Stamp Act. The ABAWD cannot participate again in the Food Stamp Program until the disqualification period has expired and he/she reestablishes eligibility for the program in accordance with the requirements at section 6(o)(5) of the Food Stamp Act. Please note, however, that, in the case of E&T sanctions, rules for good cause for noncompliance still apply. ABAWDs who have good cause for not participating in a work activity are not subject to E&T sanctions. In the case of an ABAWD who has good cause for not satisfying a work requirement in the first month of eligibility, the state agency will not impose a sanction but will count that month as one month of the 3 allowable months of eligibility. In the case of an ABAWD who has exhausted his/her 3 months of eligibility and has been participating in a qualifying work activity but stops participating with good cause, the state agency will not sanction the ABAWD for failure to comply with E&T work requirements. The state agency will, however, terminate the ABAWD from the program because the ABAWD failed to satisfy the food stamp work requirement. A state agency’s action will be the same in the case of voluntary or self-initiated workfare. The state agency will not impose a disqualification on a ABAWD who does not follow through with voluntary or self-initiated workfare but will count the month toward the 3-month time limit.

04/23/1998

The contents of this guidance document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.