Starting April 1, 2020, over 35,000 Philadelphians – and over 90,000 Pennsylvanians — will be newly subject to the SNAP three month time limit for “able bodied adults without dependents” (ABAWDs). Individuals on SNAP, aged 18 through 49, who do not have children in their household, will only be able to receive SNAP for 3 months in a 3-year period unless they are exempt or meet a work requirement.
Now is the time for individuals to start establishing their exemption or ensuring they comply with the new rules. Below is the list of who is exempt from the time limit, and how people can comply. More detailed information is in the materials linked below.
You do NOT have a time limit if you:
- Are 50 or older
- Are under 18
- Receive SNAP in a household with children under 18
- Are in school or taking classes at least part time
- Are pregnant
- Are homeless
- Are expected to return to work within 60 days
- Have experienced domestic violence
- Are applying for or getting Unemployment Compensation
- Are in a drug and alcohol treatment program
- Care for a disabled family member, or
- Are not able to work. Get your medical provider to complete form 1921 (below) and give it to the county assistance office.
You are meeting the work requirements if you:
- Work for pay at least 80 hours/month – roughly 20 hours/week;
- Participate in an eligible job training program for at least 20 hours/week; or
- Volunteer through community service a few hours a week to “work for benefits.”
- Community service is unpaid or volunteer work at a non-profit or religious organization or government site.
- The number of volunteer hours required is based on your monthly SNAP benefit divided by the state minimum wage – $7.25 per hour. For example, someone receiving $194 in SNAP per month must volunteer 26 hours/month – or 6 ½ hours/week
- DHS can provide a “special allowances” to pay for your transportation to a community service site.
- The community organization needs to sign the Community Service Agency Agreement (form PA 1694) (link).
If you use up your three months of SNAP, you can get your SNAP back by reapplying and showing that you are exempt, or you are meeting the work requirement.
The three year period is the same for everyone. The current period started January 1, 2018 and will run through December 31, 2020. Everyone who uses up their three months of SNAP this year will get another set of three months starting January 1, 2021.
DHS’s policy on how ABAWDs can comply with the work requirement, or establish their exemption from the time limit, can be found in Chapter 536 of its SNAP Handbook.