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Beginning October 1, 2020, SNAP offices throughout NYS are not to impose the ABAWD three-month time limit rule.

Under normal circumstances, childless adults between the ages of 18 and 49—referred to in SNAP regulations as Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD)—are subject to a time limit rule. SNAP benefits under the ABAWD rule are limited to three months within a three-year period, unless the individual is working or enrolled in a work program for 80 hours each month. The March 2020 Families First law temporarily suspended the ABAWD rule due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

In August 2020, OTDA provided SNAP offices with an update on the suspension of the ABAWD rule in NYS. Due to NYS’ eligibility for extended unemployment benefits, FNS has approved OTDA’s request to waive the ABAWD time limit rule in all areas of the state from October 1, 2020, through September 30, 2021.

SNAP recipients who are newly determined to fall under the ABAWD time limit rule will be sent a notice about this determination. These letters are not a notice of a requirement to work or take any action. They merely let the SNAP recipient know that they fall under the criteria for the ABAWD time limit rules which are currently suspended.

USDA Drops SNAP Rule that Limits States’ Ability to Obtain ABAWD Waivers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced it was withdrawing its appeal of a federal court decision blocking a policy that dramatically reduced states’ ability to request ABAWD waivers. Although the ABAWD rule is temporarily suspended, it’s set to return once the COVID-19 public health emergency ends. Preserving flexibility for ABAWD waivers enables states to more effectively respond to spikes in hunger that result from high unemployment.

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