Are you between the ages of 18 and 50, capable of working, and without dependents? From October 1, 2023, and for the upcoming year, new rules are in place, specifically targeting individuals in this age group. These rules pertain to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and introduce additional work requirements for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs). Let’s take a look at these regulations to ensure continued SNAP eligibility beyond the standard 3-month limit within a 3-year period.
If you fall into the 18-50 age bracket, the ABAWD work requirement becomes a key factor in maintaining extended SNAP benefits. To meet this requirement, consider the following prerequisites to be fulfilled, in order to continue to receive your food stamps.
Are There New Work Requirements to Qualify for Food Stamps?
Here are the current work requirements that apply for SNAP benefits:
- Work Commitment: Engage in employment for a minimum of 80 hours each month. Work, whether compensated, unpaid, or volunteer, all counts towards fulfilling this requirement.
- Work Programs: Enroll in a work program that demands at least 80 hours per month. This could include SNAP Employment and Training or any other federal, state, or local work initiatives.
- Hybrid Approach: Combine both individual work hours and participation in a work program to accumulate a total of 80 hours monthly.
- Workfare Involvement: Fulfill the assigned monthly hours in a workfare program. The specific number of hours will be determined based on the amount of your SNAP benefit.
Certain circumstances may exempt you from the ABAWD work requirement and the associated time limit. You are excused if you are:
- Physically or Mentally Limited: Inability to work due to physical or mental limitations.
- Pregnant: If you are pregnant, you are exempt from the work requirement.
- Household with Individuals Under 18: If there are individuals under 18 in your SNAP household, you are excused.
- Veteran Status: Veterans are exempt from the ABAWD work requirement.
- Experiencing Homelessness: Individuals facing homelessness are exempt.
- Age 24 or Younger in Foster Care: If you were in foster care on your 18th birthday and are currently 24 or younger, you are excused from the work requirement.
Strengthening Work Requirements: Know If You Qualify If This Bill Is Approved
The key to substantial spending cuts in this regard is eliminating categorical exemption loopholes. These loopholes, created in the debt ceiling bill, inadvertently hinder the creation of strong incentives for Americans to enter the workforce, subsequently advancing up the economic ladder and reducing reliance on food stamps. It is imperative to steer clear of debates over which products should or should not be covered by food stamps, avoiding entanglement in a leftist crusade against specific food items.
Proposals centered on product eligibility do little to achieve the overarching goals of reducing federal spending, breaking the cycle of dependency, or emphasizing the value of work. Instead, they position enrollees as dependents of a paternalistic state dictating their dietary choices. While today’s target might be junk food, the danger lies in future bills where politically-unfavored products such as red meat, dairy, or fish could face similar scrutiny.
The primary objective of food stamp reform should not be to modify enrollees’ diets but to transition them from welfare to work. The previously proposed Limit, Save, Grow Act took steps in this direction, tightening work requirements for cash welfare and food stamps while introducing new obligations for Medicaid recipients. House Republicans, buoyed by strong public support exceeding 75 percent, aimed to establish expectations for non-disabled, working-age adults to engage in work or job training to qualify for federal welfare benefits.
Despite the public backing, Republican negotiators in the debt ceiling discussions repeatedly retreated. Provisions for new work requirements on Medicaid were removed, followed by the elimination of tightened work requirements for cash welfare. Categorical exemptions were eventually added to food stamp work requirements, excluding veterans, homeless individuals, and former foster children under 25.