536.1 General Policy

An ABAWD is an able-bodied adult without dependents.  ABAWD eligibility for SNAP is limited to three countable months in a three-year period (known as the three-month time limit) unless the individual meets the ABAWD work requirement or is otherwise exempt.

7 CFR § 273.24

An ABAWD is a SNAP applicant or recipient who is:

7 U.S.C. § 2015(o)(3)(A)(ii)(II)

If an ABAWD received SNAP benefits for three countable months in a fixed three-year period, that individual is not eligible to continue receiving SNAP benefits unless the individual:

7 CFR § 273.24(a)


NOTE:  Partial months and Expedited SNAP issuances (which may include a full month) are not included in the three countable months.


536.11 ABAWD Clocks and the Fixed Three-Year Period

ABAWD clocks keep track of the fixed three-year period and the three countable months for every individual that receives the time-limited three months of SNAP benefits.  There are two ABAWD clocks: 

7 CFR § 273.24(b)

1.   Fixed three-year clock – a clock that counts a fixed three-year period for everyone in the state. 

7 CFR § 273.24(b)(3)

Every fixed three-year fixed period, an ABAWD can begin to receive a new count of three months of benefits.  


2.   ABAWD clock – a clock that counts the receipt of the three countable months of time-limited benefits for each ABAWD within the current fixed three-year period.


7 CFR § 273.24(b)(1)(iv)


Once the three countable months have been used in the current fixed three-year period, the ABAWD will not be eligible for SNAP benefits again until the new fixed three-year period begins or the ABAWD regains eligibility, meets an exemption, moves to a waived area, or starts meeting the work requirement.


7 CFR § 273.24(b)(1)


Updated April 18, 2024; Replacing February 9, 2024