- SNAP recipients age 18-49, and
who are able to work
- have no dependents
SNAP - ABAWDs
For most people there is no time limit for how long they can receive SNAP benefits. Federal rules, however, do limit SNAP benefits to 3 months in a 36-month period for people age 18 through 49 who are able to work and have no dependents. They are known as Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDs).
Since 1996, SNAP rules have held ABAWDs to this time limit. Each year, however, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reviews the availability of employment in a city or town and compares it against the number of eligible workers in that city or town, and they may allow a community to be waived from the time limit because they are a labor surplus area.
For many years, the unemployment rate in RI exempted residents of every city and town from the time limit. As of September 1, 2018, ABAWDs in the following towns may be subject to a three-month time limit:
See below for answers to common ABAWD questions and resources for ABAWDs seeking to maintain benefits beyond 3 months.
No. If a SNAP recipient is not an ABAWD, they do not have a time limit. Non-ABAWDs typically receive SNAP for 12 or 24 months at a time and can maintain SNAP benefits if they complete necessary interim and recertification requirements and remain eligible for SNAP.
No. An ABAWD may be able to continue to receive benefits beyond 36 months if they are meeting ABAWD work requirements or they live an a waived community.
Yes. If you are identified as an ABAWD, you may maintain benefits after three months by reporting to us that you are meeting the ABAWD work requirements or that you are unfit for work.
Yes. If you’ve used three months of benefits and are then closed, but something has changed, such as you start working or have a child move into your SNAP household, or you move into a waived community, you may re-apply for SNAP benefits and have your SNAP reinstated because you are no longer an ABAWD or no longer subject to ABAWD time limits.
ABAWDs can only receive benefits for 3 months in a 36-month period. In Rhode Island, everyone is on the same 36-month timeframe. Rhode Island’s current clock is from September 1, 2017 through August 31, 2020. If nothing changes in your household and you’ve used your three months of benefits, you may be eligible for another three months of benefits beginning September 1, 2020.
Here is a form to help you determine if you might be eligible for an exemption. It also lists the documentation you need to provide to DHS to make you exempt.
You can bring your verification to a DHS office, mail it to PO Box 8709, Cranston, RI 02920 or if you have a customer portal account, you may upload it there.
If DHS terminates SNAP benefits for any reason including alleged failure to meet the new work/volunteer requirements or denies an exemption, DHS must send a written notice stating the reasons why. If you feel the decision is incorrect, you have 90 days from the date of the notice to request a hearing, and can request continuing benefits until the hearing is held.