State Agency Readiness to Apply the ABAWD Time Limit and Serve ABAWDs
The FNS will publish the final rule, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Requirements for Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents, on December 5, 2019. It is available for public inspection at the Federal Register.
As you are aware, the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (the Act) limits able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) to no more than 3 months of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits over any 3-year period unless they work or participate in a work program at least 20 hours a week or participate in a workfare program. This final rule supports the Agency’s commitment to self-sufficiency by modifying states’ ability to receive waivers of the ABAWD time limit. More specifically, the rule sets robust, quantitative standards that states’ must meet in order to receive such waivers and limits the accumulation of discretionary exemptions.
In light of the new rule, FNS is taking this opportunity to reiterate the importance of state screening and tracking of ABAWDs, as well as providing ABAWDs with the resources they need to move towards—and into—employment. It is critical that state agencies properly screen and track ABAWDs. Failure to screen or track ABAWDs could result in a state agency applying the time limit to individuals who are otherwise exempt or providing more than 3 months of benefits to an ABAWD who is not complying with the work requirements. It is critical that state agencies ensure that all areas within the state are prepared to apply the time limit appropriately.