USDA Finalizes Rule For SNAP Requirements for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents
In the last two years, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; colloquially known as the “Food Stamps” Program) has been a major point of contention within political circles. For example, the additional SNAP requirements proposed in the 2018 Farm Bill threatened to derail its passage and the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) proposal to close a “loophole” that permitted states to rely on eligibility for other programs drew the ire of 70 U.S. mayors.
There have been ongoing discussions of revisions to the SNAP requirements for the Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD) program. This program limits ABAWDs to receiving SNAP benefits for no more than three months within a 36-month period unless the individual (1) meets certain work requirements, (2) lives in an area with unemployment over 10 percent or (3) lives in an area that lacks sufficient available jobs. States also have some ability to apply discretionary exemptions and to carry over unused exemptions from prior years.
On December 5 USDA published a final rule that will limit the definition of “area” to a labor market area (LMA), an intrastate part of a multi-state LMA, or a reservation area or a U.S. Territory. It also defines an area as lacking sufficient jobs when a 24-month average unemployment rate is over six percent and at least 20 percent above the national rate during the same time period. Ability to apply and carry over waivers has also been limited. More on the new rule can be found in the USDA press release, fact sheet, and Question and Answer documents.