SNAP Time Limit Rule

In February, the Administration published a proposed SNAP ABAWD time-limit rule that would cause 755,000 SNAP participants to lose benefits and result in 8.5 billion meals lost over ten years. Feeding America has developed several materials and resources for our network to help provide public comments against this harmful proposal.

All the info you need to stay informed and make comments in opposition to this time-limit rule is on Feeding America’s SNAP Rulemaking campaign page.

Submit a comment TODAY – Deadline for comments is on April 2, 2019!
You can submit your unique comments at any of these sites below:

What is the current law?

At present, Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) face a strict time limit for receiving benefits if they are unable to find work.

  • Adults ages 18-50 who do not receive disability benefits and do not have children, can only receive SNAP benefits for three-months, over the course of a three-year period, unless they are working at least 20 hour per week or taking part in comparable workforce/job training.
  • This is often mischaracterized as a work requirement, but is more accurately labeled a “time limit.” Even in its current form, this harsh time limit does not help someone find or keep a job, but rather takes away their food assistance after a specific period of time.
  • Presently, states are able to waive this time limit for people, temporarily, in areas with elevated unemployment. This allows states to be nimble around economic fluctuations.
  • Nearly every state in the U.S. has opted to utilize these waivers at some time.

What would the proposed action do?

The executive action would restrict states’ ability to waive the harsh time limit, in turn making the time limit on SNAP benefits for ABAWDs even more severe.

  • The proposed rule making would both tighten the criteria for qualifying for a waiver request and expand the ground upon which it can be denied.
  • USDA’s own estimates show these changes would cut SNAP benefits to an estimated 755,000 individuals and increase food insecurity.
  • This rule would result in a loss of 8.5 billion meals over ten years from the tables of individuals facing hunger.

Who does this impact?

This rule would target the people most in need of Feeding America’s help – the poor, jobless and unemployed.

  • The average income of ABAWDs participating in SNAP is just 18 percent of the poverty line or about $2,171, annually, for a single person household.
  • That household’s SNAP benefit equates to roughly $170 per month.

Our Position

Houston Food Bank strongly opposes the new USDA proposed SNAP rule which would deny food access to those already struggling to make ends meet. On December 20, 2018, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and its recipients, specifically Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs). The proposed SNAP rule in the Federal Register would restrict the use of state waivers, which would severely limit SNAP for ABAWDs who are seeking gainful employment. This rule would cut benefits to an estimated 750,000 individuals across the country, add more barriers to accessing SNAP, and disregard Congress’ will to exclude harsh work requirements from the nation’s best tool for lifting people out of poverty.

Read more of Houston Food Bank’s opposition to the SNAP Time Limit Rule.

Take Action

What happens next?
The public has until April 2, 2019 to generate comments on this proposal. Feeding America and its network member food banks will play an active role in soliciting feedback. There is still time to oppose the rule so that it is delayed or withdrawn!

You can submit your unique comments at any of these sites below:

The rule cannot be final until after the comment period ends and the government reviews and addresses all the comments. Then, if a final rule is published, there will be another waiting period before the rule is implemented. Check this webpage periodically for any updates regarding this rule.

For questions regarding Public Charge, please contact:

Melanie Pang
Government Relations Officer