In a move aimed at encouraging self-sufficiency and economic empowerment, new work requirements will come into effect for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) starting September 1, 2023. The changes are set to impact certain demographic groups and mark a significant shift in SNAP policy.
Previously, able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) aged 18 to 49 were required to demonstrate their employment status by working at least 80 hours a month, engaging in educational pursuits, or participating in a training program to remain eligible for SNAP benefits beyond a three-month period. But, the changes go further from this, and we’ll explain it better for you.
The new work requirements for SNAP benefits
The noteworthy change is that ABAWDs aged 50 to 54 will now also need to meet these work requirements to receive SNAP benefits. Meanwhile, certain vulnerable groups will remain exempt from these work requirements. Homeless individuals, veterans, and young adults aged 18 to 24 who have aged out of foster care will not be affected by these changes, ensuring they continue to receive the support.
Additionally, states will hold the authority to request temporary waivers for areas with an unemployment rate exceeding 10% or for regions lacking sufficient employment opportunities. This flexibility recognizes the diverse economic landscapes across the country and allows for tailored SNAP policies.
Key dates ABAWD
To provide a clear timeline for the age-related adjustments to the ABAWD time limit, the following have been established:
- September 1, 2023: The age threshold subject to the ABAWD time limit increases to 50.
- October 1, 2023: The age threshold subject to the ABAWD time limit increases to 52.
- October 1, 2024: The age threshold subject to the ABAWD time limit reaches 54.
As these new policies take effect, they are expected to shape the landscape of food assistance programs in the United States, promoting independence and self-sufficiency among recipients.
Can states request waivers for areas with high unemployment rates or insufficient employment opportunities?
Yes, states can indeed request SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) waivers for areas with high unemployment rates or insufficient employment opportunities. These waivers are intended to promote food security for those living in areas facing economic challenges. They allow states to bypass the usual work-related time limits that apply to able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) under the SNAP program.
Under the current regulations, states can qualify for SNAP time limit waivers in a number of ways. Time limits can be waived in counties or areas with a recent 24-month average unemployment rate that is at least 20% higher than the national average unemployment rate, or if they are designated as a “labor surplus area” by the US Department of Labor. To be designated a labor surplus area, a jurisdiction must have an elevated 24-month unemployment rate at least 20% higher than the national unemployment rate and a minimum unemployment rate of 6%
How to apply for food stamps from now on
Beside the new requirements mentioned before, these are the current requirements if you’re looking forward to apply for SNAP benefits:
- In most cases, your household’s earnings should not exceed 130% of the poverty line. These income limits vary depending on the size of your family.
- After accounting for deductions, your household’s income should remain at or below the poverty line.
- For households without a member aged 60 or older or with a disability, countable resources should not exceed $2,750. However, households with a member aged 60 or older or with a disability can have countable resources up to $4,250.
- Certain resources do not factor into the eligibility assessment. These include Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and most retirement and pension plans.
- Special SNAP regulations apply to households that include elderly or disabled individuals.
- Typically, if you receive most of your meals from an institution, you may not qualify for SNAP benefits. However, exceptions exist for elderly and disabled individuals
What exemptions are there for the new work requirements?
The new work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) stipulate that able-bodied adults up to 50 years old who do not have children must show proof of working at least 80 hours a month or be enrolled in an education or training program to receive SNAP benefits.
However, there are several exemptions to these requirements:
- Age: The work requirements apply to individuals aged 18-52
- Veterans: Veterans are exempt from the work requirements
- Homeless Individuals: Homeless people are also exempt from the new mandates
- Former Foster Care Individuals: Adults up to age 24 who aged out of foster care are exempt from the work requirements
Furthermore, while most adults aged 18-49 without children in their homes can only receive benefits for three months in a three-year period unless they can document that they are working or participating in a job training program for 20 hours per week or can prove they qualify for an exemption, such as having a work-limiting disability
What deductions are considered when calculating the net income for SNAP eligibility?
When calculating net income for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) eligibility, several deductions are considered, these deductions are subtracted from the gross income to determine the net income. The allowable deductions include:
- Standard Deduction: Every household receives a standard deduction based on its size, which reduces the gross income, making it easier for the household to qualify for SNAP.
- Earned Income Deduction: Households can deduct 20% of their earned income. This includes wages, salary, or commissions.
Dependent Care Deduction: If a household has expenses for dependent care, such as childcare, the cost of these expenses can be deducted from the gross income.
- Child Support Deduction: Legally obligated child support payments that a household member pays can be deducted.
- Medical Expense Deduction: If a household has an elderly or disabled member with out-of-pocket medical expenses more than $35 per month, these expenses can be deducted.
- Excess Shelter Deduction: This deduction is set at the amount by which the household’s housing costs exceed half of its net income after all other deductions. It includes costs such as rent, mortgage payments, property taxes, and utilities. The maximum limit for this deduction is $586, but it can be higher for households with an elderly or disabled member.
Please note that the actual amounts for these deductions can vary from year to year and state to state. It’s always best to consult with a SNAP representative or your state’s SNAP agency for the most accurate information.