As State ABAWD waivers expire, the clock is now ticking on a 3-month time limit—many people will soon lose their benefits unless they meet special work requirements which had been waived in many parts of the country in recent years. Today, few States have a waiver in place because they either do not qualify for one due to an improving economy or have decided not to pursue a waiver. Policymakers, program administrators, and advocates are looking to the SNAP Employment & Training (E&T) program as a way to connect ABAWDs to activities that will help them meet work requirements and continue to receive the nutrition assistance they need. This brief summarizes the ABAWD time limit, clarifies the relationship between ABAWD policy and the SNAP E&T program, and highlights the potential—and limits—of SNAP E&T in responding to the needs of ABAWDs. It clarifies that States are not required to run mandatory E&T programs to serve ABAWDs and that the program is one tool among many for ABAWDs at risk of losing benefits. The most promising role for SNAP E&T may be to offer job-driven education and training services, opening a path for ABAWDs to transition from the program the right way: by becoming self-sufficient through better paying jobs.
May 1, 2016