USDA Issues Final Regulation on ABAWD SNAP Recepients

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a final rule that would make it more difficult for states to gain waivers for work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) who are beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Current SNAP statute limits adults to three months of benefits within a three-year period unless the individuals work or participate in work training for 20+ hours per week. States have had the ability to apply for waivers that would shield able-bodied adults without dependents from the time limit included in these federal work requirements. States can currently receive waivers for work requirements if their unemployment rates are at least 20 percent higher than the national rate. The final rule will retain states’ statutory flexibility to waive the time limit in high unemployment areas but will impose stricter standards for the waivers.

  • USDA is amending its regulations to provide a stricter definition of an “area in which the individuals reside,” to redefine the criteria for an area to have “an unemployment rate of over 10 percent,” and to redefine what it means for an area to “not have a sufficient number of jobs to provide employment for the individuals.”
The final rule will take effect on April 1, 2020 and is purported to remove 750,000 individuals from the SNAP program.
The final rule applies to SNAP recipients ages 18-49 who do not work or have dependents. Excluded from the rule are children, parents with children under the age of 6, those over the age of 50, individuals with a disability, and pregnant women.

Click here to view the final rule. USDA’s fact sheet outlining the final rule is available here.
For Frequently Asked Questions and Reponses from USDA, please follow this link.
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