Starting April 1, 2016, more than 30,000 adults will lose food assistance in the form of SNAP. The recent cuts will affect able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs). ABAWDs are classified as a person between the ages of 18 and 49 who has no dependents and is not disabled. Food banks and other food assistance charities are estimated to see an influx of people needing food assistance.
Additional facts about ABAWDs:
- Adults must complete 80 hours of work or training a month. If they fail to meet this requirement, which is roughly 20 hours of work per week, they will lose their SNAP benefits.
- ABAWDs who don’t meet the requirement can only qualify for three months of assistance in a 36 month period.
- During the Great Recession states were able to apply for a waiver allowing them to lift the three month minimum and 80-hour work requirement. The waiver was set to expire in December 2015, but allowed states/counties with high unemployment rates to reimplement the waiver again.
- Last year Missouri passed SB 24 which limits Missouri from applying for the waiver after it expired at the end of 2015. Missouri is refusing to seek the waiver even for their high unemployment areas that could continue to qualify.
- According to the USDA Missouri currently falls 8th in overall food insecurity (16.8%) and 2nd in very high food insecurity (7.9%).
Although this requirement is touted as a work requirement, it is in fact a time requirement. Calling it a work requirement suggests that it encourages people to look for work and provides a training or workfare position to everyone subject to the time limit. This is not the case. Individuals who work up to 20 hours and those looking for work are still terminated after three months and cannot receive benefits for another three years.