To determine whether an individual meets an exemption from time-limited benefits, first the CAO must determine whether they are outside the ABAWD age range or live in a geographically-waived area (see: Section 536.21). eCIS will assign an eligibility status code based on the address and date of birth.
An individual that is not included in the SNAP household.
An individual who is under age 18 or age 50 or older and thus is not subject to time-limited benefits.
Eligible Able-Bodied Waived Adult
An individual who is between age 18 and 49, but resides in a geographically-waived area and thus is not subject to time-limited benefits.
Eligible Able-Bodied Adult
An individual who is between age 18 and 49 who is subject to time-limited benefits unless exempt or meeting the federal ABAWD work requirement.
The CAO must assign individuals a SNAP Qualification code (Qual Code) in eCIS to indicate whether they are exempt from the ABAWD time limit, meeting the ABAWD federal work requirement, or neither.
The CAO must assign the first applicable Qual Code in the list below:
|Resides in a SNAP household with a child under age 18
A child under 18 lives in the same SNAP household as the individual.
|Disabled or receives federal or state disability.
Individual receives Social Security Disability, SSI, VA Disability (10% or higher rating), or disability-related MA for which they are certified by the state MRT.
NOTE: Veteran’s disability must be for the veteran themselves, not a survivor. The exemption applies for both pensions and disability payments and is only applicable for SNAP ABAWD purposes.
|Meets federal E&T exemption codes 04, 12, 14, 17, 20, or 21
See: Chapter 535.3.
Individual is pregnant (any trimester).
|Unable to work as determined by DHS
Assign Qual. Code 10 if:
-Individual is unable to work due to being a victim or survivor of domestic violence
-Individual is participating in a substance use disorder (SUD), mental health, or Vocational Rehabilitation Program
-The individual has a physical/mental impairment that is obvious to the CAO
-The individual is chronically homeless (homeless for the past six months or an established pattern over two years)
-The individual has a verified physical/mental impairment that is not obvious (PA 1921 or other medical evidence required)
|Working at least 20 hours a week averaged monthly
Individual is employed at least 20 hours per week averaged monthly
|Participating in an E&T approved activity except job search/prep (20 hours/week)
Individual is meeting the work requirement through participation in an E&T program, or through a combination of work and participation in E&T.
See: Chapter 536.22
NOTE: Individuals meeting the work requirement by participating in the E&T community service activity are assigned Qual Code 07.
|Participating in a workfare program
Individual is meeting the work requirement by participating in the E&T community service activity for the required hours.
See: Chapter 536.22.
|Meets state E&T exemption codes 06, 15, 16, 19, or 23
See: Chapter 535.3
|ABAWD time limit expiration appeal
|Individual appeals the closure of benefits due to the ABAWD time limit and elects to keep receiving benefits pending the outcome of the appeal.
|Does not meet an exemption or work requirement
Individual who is not meeting the work requirement and to whom no exemption applies.
|Regained eligibility as designated in the FSH, Section 536.25
Individual met the work requirement at some point after exhausting their initial three countable months but is no longer meeting the work requirement. May only be used once per fixed three-year period to authorize three additional countable months of benefits.
See: Chapter 536.25
As long as an individual is exempt from ABAWD requirements, receipt of SNAP benefits is not limited to three months.
A residence contains a mother and her children under age 18 who do not receive SNAP benefits. The mother’s 24-year-old brother moves in with the family. The brother applies and is found eligible for SNAP as a separate household due to buying and preparing meals separately. The brother does not meet the ABAWD exemption, because his sister’s children are not members of his SNAP household. He is subject to the three-month time limit.
A father applies for SNAP benefits for himself and his 17 year old child in May for that month. The mother has custody of the same child during the school year and receives SNAP benefits in another county. The father has custody during the summer months. The father is claiming an exemption based on the age of the child. Because the child is already active with one parent in another SNAP household, the father cannot claim an exemption for himself. The father does not meet an ABAWD exemption and is subject to the three-month time limit.
A 30 year old single woman applies for SNAP benefits. She states she is pregnant. This information is not questionable so no verification is needed. This woman does meet an ABAWD exemption based on her pregnancy and is not subject to the three-month ABAWD time limit.
Students and ABAWD status
Eligible students (see: Chapter 514.2) enrolled at least half-time in any recognized school, training program, or institution of higher education are exempt from work registration (ETP 20) and thus also exempt from the ABAWD time limit (Qual Code 3).
The exemption ends upon the student’s graduation, suspension, expulsion, dropping out, or not intending to register at least half-time for the next normal school term. A student who was enrolled at least half-time during the spring term and intends to enroll at least half-time for the fall term continues to be exempt during summer vacation (see: Chapter 514.22).
Students enrolled less than half-time should be reviewed to determine if they meet any other ABAWD exemptions. Students who do not meet an exemption from the time limit should be encouraged to volunteer to participate in the SNAP E&T program through the KEYS or KEYS Expansion program, if appropriate (see: Chapter 535.1). Students who participate in SNAP E&T can count their class time and reasonable study time toward the 20 hour per week ABAWD work requirement. The CAO must advise students that volunteering to participate in SNAP E&T is one way to meet the work requirement.
Individuals living in geographical waived areas are exempt from the time limit for receipt of SNAP benefits. Waiver requests are submitted by the Bureau of Policy and the Bureau of Employment Programs and are subject to approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). FNS may waive the time limit and work requirements for a specific area in the state if it has been determined that the area:
7 CFR § 273.24(f)
Has an unemployment rate of over 10 percent; or
Does not have a sufficient number of jobs to provide employment for its residents.
The waiver can be approved statewide, by county, or by civil sub-division. These waived areas are announced each year and are identified in the system when the CAO enters a Global Information System (GIS) validated address. Address validation is important because ABAWD geographic waivers are tied to GIS-validated addresses.
Appendix A contains the listing of current geographical areas waived by FNS.
NOTE: As long as an individual resides in a geographically waived area, receipt of SNAP benefits is not limited to three months.
An ABAWD is meeting the federal work requirement if the individual meets one of the following:
7 CFR § 273.24(a)(1)
Working at least 20 hours per week averaged 80 hours monthly;
Work must be in exchange for money but does not have to meet minimum wage or higher to qualify.
7 CFR §273.24(a)(2)(i)
Work in exchange for goods or services (“in kind” work)
7 CFR §273.24(a)(2)(ii)
Combination of any of the above
7 CFR §273.24(a)(2)(iv)
If the individual misses work and does not meet 20 hours a week temporarily, good cause should be reviewed (see).
Participating in a work program (e.g. SNAP E&T) at least 20 hours per week, averaged monthly;
Work program means:
A program under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act;
A program under section 236 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2296); or
An approved employment and training program component approved by the state, e.g. SNAP E&T(except for community service). (See Chapter 535 Appendix A for a list of SNAP employment and training activities).
NOTE: Participation in a job search or a job readiness and job preparation activity does not qualify as a primary activity but participation in these activities of up to 10 hours per week may be combined with participation in a different activity to meet an individual’s participation requirement.
7 CFR §273.24(a)(3)(iii)
A program of employment and training for veterans operated by the Department of Labor or the Department of Veteran Affairs. Any employment and training program of the U.S. Department of Labor or U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that serves veterans shall be an approved work program
7 CFR §273.24(a)(3)(iv)
A combination of working and participating in a work program for a total of 20 hours per week
7 CFR §273.24(a)(1)(iii)
Participating in the SNAP E&T community service activity (AC 90) for the required hours. The CAO must calculate the monthly required number of hours of participation for each SNAP recipient who elects this option by dividing the recipient’s SNAP allotment by the minimum wage. (see: Chapter 535 Appendix A)
7 CFR §273.24(a)(1)(iv)
As long as an individual meets the work requirement, receipt of SNAP benefits is not limited to three months.
7 CFR §273.24(b)(1)(iii)
If an individual would have worked or participated in a work program an average of 20 hours per week but missed some work for good cause, the individual should be considered to have met the work requirement if the absence from work is temporary and the individual retains his or her job. Good cause shall include, but is not limited to the following:
7 CFR § 273.24(b)(2)
Circumstances outside the individuals control
Illness or illness of another household member requiring the presence of the individual
A household emergency
Hours affected by holiday closings
Each state is allotted ABAWD exemptions equal to 12 percent of the state’s SNAP caseload that is ineligible because of the ABAWD time limit. These "discretionary exemptions” (sometimes also referred to as “12% exemptions”) allow the state to extend SNAP eligibility to ABAWDs who would otherwise be ineligible because of the three-month time limit. See Appendix B for a list of the current discretionary exemptions.
ABAWDs who have exhausted their three countable months may regain eligibility at any time by:
7 CFR § 273.24(d)
Meeting the ABAWD work requirement; or
Working 80 hours within a 30-day period or
Participating 80 hours within a 30-day period in an approved work program; or
Participating the required number of hours in a 30-day period in a SNAP E&T community service activity
Qualifying for an ABAWD exemption; or
Living in a waived area
NOTE: There is no limit on how many times an ABAWD may regain eligibility. Once eligibility is regained, the ABAWD is authorized using the proper SNAP Qualification Code.
An ABAWD receives three months of time-limited benefits in March, April, and May and has a renewal interview on May 21. At the interview, the ABAWD reports having worked 20 hours in the previous week and expects to continue to work 20 hours per week. The worker verifies the employment. Eligibility continues uninterrupted because the ABAWD is now meeting the work requirement. The SNAP Qualification Code must be updated to EB-05 because the ABAWD is now meeting the ABAWD work requirement.
An ABAWD receives three months of time-limited benefits in March, April, and May. The benefits stop effective May 31 due to the time limit. The individual reapplies for SNAP in September of the same year and is now receiving unemployment compensation (a federal E&T exemption from ABAWD requirements). His unemployment compensation income is within SNAP income limits and he meets all SNAP eligibility criteria. Eligibility has been regained because he is now meeting an ABAWD exemption. SNAP benefits can be authorized on an ongoing basis. This individual would be authorized as an EB-03.
An ABAWD receives three months of time-limited benefits while living in a non-waived area. The individual moves to an area where ABAWD requirements are geographically waived and reapplies for SNAP benefits. Eligibility has been regained because he is now residing in a geographically waived area. If all SNAP eligibility factors are met, SNAP benefits can be authorized on an ongoing basis. An “EW” eligibility status code will be system-assigned to this individual based on his GIS-validated address being within a geographically waived area. The CAO would then select the appropriate SNAP Qualification code based on his circumstances.
An ABAWD who has regained eligibility but then stops meeting the ABAWD work requirement may be eligible for an additional three consecutive months of SNAP eligibility.
7 CFR § 273.24(e)
This additional three-month eligibility period:
Is coded as an EB-21
Cannot be used before the three countable months are exhausted (EB-20)
Is only available once within the three-year period
· Must be used consecutively
An ABAWD receives three months of time-limited benefits in March, April, and May. The benefits stop effective May 31 due to the time limit. On June 2, the ABAWD starts a new job and works 80 hours during the first two weeks in June. The job ends on June 16. On June 20, the ABAWD applies for SNAP, and verifies the full 80 hours worked. If all SNAP eligibility factors are met, an additional consecutive three months of SNAP benefits (EB-21) may be authorized because the ABAWD worked 80 hours within a 30-day period, but has since stopped meeting ABAWD requirements. This individual would be authorized as an EB-21.
An ABAWD receives three months of time-limited benefits in March, April, and May. Benefits are stopped effective May 31 due to the time limit. The individual worked 40 hours per week from June 14 through August 1, and was laid-off but is ineligible for unemployment compensation. The individual applies for SNAP on January 15 of the following year and is now unemployed. If all SNAP eligibility factors are met, an additional consecutive three months of SNAP benefits (EB-21) may be authorized because the ABAWD worked 80 hours within a 30 day-period, but has since stopped meeting ABAWD requirements. This individual would be authorized as an EB-21.
Updated June 1, 2023; Replacing November 25, 2019