What is the “ABAWD” 3-month time limit for childless adults age 18 to 50?

We are in the process of updating the SNAP Advocacy Guide, so some of the information is no longer current.  In the meantime, you can read or download a PDF of the 2023 guide from www.masslegalservices.org/FoodStampSNAPAdvocacyGuide

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed March 2023

Outside of the pandemic, many childless adults – ages 18 through 49 years – can only get 3 months of SNAP in a 36 month period unless the individual is exempt from or meeting certain work rules. This federal SNAP rule affects individuals determined to be “able-bodied adults without dependents” or "ABAWDs." 106 C.M.R. § 362.320(link is external)

You may be exempt from this rule if you have a short- or long-term incapacity or disability, are homeless, living with a child under age 18, are pregnant, attending college as a SNAP-eligible student, are enrolled in an approved education and training program or meeting other exemptions. You are also exempt if you are working or self-employed 20 hours a week or more. If not exempt, ABAWDs are required to engage in certain activities to continue their SNAP unless they have good cause.

The ABAWD time limit is currently not in effect. It will continue to be suspended in Massachusetts until at least July 1, 2023. Check MassLegalServices.org/DTA-COVID-19 for updates about who may be impacted after July 1, 2023.

DTA Online Guide: See Appendix G for links to the DTA's BEACON Online Guide.


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