EBT and Employment: Can You Get Food Stamps without a Job?

(DailyDig.com) – Americans applying for food stamps or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) should understand the general work requirements and the exceptions. The SNAP program ensures Americans have food but stresses the significance of work and responsibility.

Unemployed people can still qualify for SNAP benefits under specific requirements. This article will cover how SNAP work requirements are applied and the rules for looking for work if you’re unemployed to get the benefits.

What Are SNAP Work Requirements?

SNAP has two main types of work requirements. If you are between 16 and 59 and can work, you must meet the general work requirements to get SNAP benefits. The general work requirements include; participating in a SNAP employment and training (E&T) program, registering for work, and completing work assigned by your state SNAP agency.

It also involves taking a suitable job, if provided, with 30 hours per week and not voluntarily quitting a job or reducing work hours below 30 hours a week. However, some people can still qualify for SNAP benefits without meeting the general work requirements.

Exemptions from SNAP Work Requirements

Some select individuals don’t have to meet the general work requirements. Here are the exceptions to SNAP work requirements:

  • Meeting other work requirements for other federal programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or unemployment compensation
  • If you’re unable to work because of a physical or mental condition
  • Taking care of a 6-year-old child or an incapacitated person
  • If you are studying in school or participating in a training program at least half the time, although college students are eligible for other rules
  • Participating regularly in an alcohol or substance abuse assistance program
  • If you’re already working for 30 hours weekly or earning wages which are at least equal to the federal minimum wage multiplied by 30 hours

If you don’t meet these general work requirements and are not exempt from these rules, the agency will disqualify you from getting benefits for at least a month, and you’ll have to start the process again.

What Is the Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents Work Requirement?

Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD) refers to people between 18 and 49 who can work, don’t have children, and are not disabled. People who are in this category must meet the general work requirements and additional ABAWD requirements to get SNAP benefits.

To meet the ABAWD work requirements, you should work at least 80 hours a month, which can be paid work or volunteering for community service. You can participate in a work program for at least 80 hours a month, or combine your work with a work program for at least 80 hours a month. In addition, you must participate and work for the number of hours the agency assigns you each month, depending on your SNAP benefits.

Exemptions for ABAWD Requirements

The agency can exempt you from the ABAWD requirements if you cannot work due to pregnancy, physical and mental limitations, and have someone under 18 years in your SNAP household. Generally, if the agency exempts you from the general work requirements, you are also exempt from the ABAWD rules.

ABAWD Time Limits

ABAWDs can get food stamps for three months in 3 years if they don’t meet specific work requirements, called the ABAWD time limit. However, federal law can allow states to ask SNAP agencies to waive the ABAWD time limits based on evidence that the region has an unemployment rate of more than 10% and doesn’t have an adequate number of jobs.

Generally, people who have applied for SNAP benefits may have to qualify and fulfill general work requirements to collect the benefits. Other food assistance programs like TANF, Women Infants and Children (WIC) program, and Food Distribution Programs for Seniors ensure no American can go hungry.

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