BATON ROUGE, LA – Beginning October 1, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) will implement federal work requirements and time limits for certain Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients, except in 33 parishes granted a federal waiver from the time limit rule.
In June, the federal government passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act, making changes to SNAP for recipients classified as Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs). Beginning October 1, 2023, individuals aged 18 to 52 in the ABAWD category are limited to three months of SNAP benefits within a 36-month period unless they meet the federal work requirement or receive an exemption. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) oversees this rule, known as the SNAP Time Limit.
The Fiscal Responsibility Act also created new exemptions from the work requirement for individuals experiencing homelessness, veterans, and young adults aged 18 to 24 who were in foster care on their eighteenth birthday. The ABAWD age-limit will increase again on October 1, 2024, when ABAWDs up to age 54 will be subject to work requirements and the time limit.
To meet ABAWD work requirements, ABAWD-classified SNAP recipients must:
- Work in a job (for pay or as a volunteer) for at least 80 hours per month;
- Participate in a SNAP Employment and Training program for at least 80 hours per month (More information available at http://www.dcfs.la.gov/SNAPET); or
- Work and/or participate in any combination of the above for a total of at least 80 hours per month.
If an ABAWD-classified SNAP recipient fails to meet the ABAWD work requirement, or is not exempt, they will lose their benefits after three months.
FNS approved Louisiana’s request to grant 33 Louisiana parishes a waiver from the time-limit rule due to high unemployment rates or insufficient number of jobs for their population. A waiver does not waive general SNAP work requirements, only the SNAP time limit and work requirements. General SNAP work requirements involve registering for work, accepting a suitable job offer, and not voluntarily quitting a job or reducing your work hours below 30 per week without a valid reason. Residents in the following 33 parishes will remain exempt from ABAWD requirements:
Assumption, Avoyelles, Bienville, Catahoula, Claiborne, Concordia, East Carroll, Evangeline, Franklin, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Madison, Morehouse, Orleans, Ouachita, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, Richland, St. Bernard, St. Helena, St. James, St. John The Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, Tangipahoa, Tensas, Terrebonne, Union, Washington, West Carroll and Winn.
Without the waiver, about 5.33% of Louisiana’s 862,264 SNAP recipients would be affected by the federal rule change, totaling approximately 45,989 individuals. With the waiver, DCFS estimates that approximately 2.69% of Louisiana’s 862,264 SNAP recipients will be affected by the federal rule change, totaling around 23,230 individuals.
To find more information on SNAP E&T, individuals can visit DCFS’s newly launched SET for Success website, which provides comprehensive resources related to employment and training programs, including information on SNAP E&T, a provider map, brochures, and more. Visit dcfs.la/snapet and dcfs.la/set for tools and guidance to meet work requirements and attain financial stability.
“Developing the untapped talent of the individuals we serve is a major priority of our department’s growing SET for Success workforce development initiative,” said DCFS Secretary Terri Ricks. “We’re working with community and technical colleges, community-based organizations and professional development providers to offer no-cost SNAP E&T programs throughout Louisiana. It’s exciting to see so many people embracing these opportunities.”
Recipients may be exempt from the ABAWD work requirement and time limit for receiving benefits if their circumstances meet any of the following criteria:
- physically or mentally unable to be employed;
- caring for dependents;
- individuals experiencing homelessness;
- individuals aged 24 and younger who were in foster care on their 18th birthday;
- working at least 30 hours a week. Earning $217.50 or more per week;
- receiving unemployment benefits, or have applied for unemployment benefits;
- going to school, college, or a training program at least half-time;
- meeting the work rules for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); or participating in a drug or alcohol addiction treatment program
SNAP recipients who meet the ABAWD description and believe they qualify for an exemption must contact DCFS by emailing LAHelpU.DCFS@la.gov or calling 1-888-LA-HELP-U (1-888-524-3578) to verify and document their exemption.
Notices were sent out statewide to all certified SNAP households with an ABAWD on September 9, 2023.
For a sample official notice, frequently asked questions and other information about the ABAWD rule change and SNAP eligibility, please visit dcfs.la/abawd.
About the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services
DCFS is the state agency responsible for keeping children safe, helping individuals and families become self-sufficient and providing refuge during disasters. The Division of Family Support administers the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps), Workforce Development (SET for Success), Child Support Enforcement, Disability Determination Services, and federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds. The Child Welfare Division manages Child Protection Investigations, Family Services, Foster Care and Adoption Services. Through its Division of Emergency Preparedness and Response, DCFS supports the state’s disaster response and recovery functions that involve evacuation, sheltering, emergency food assistance and human services. For more information, visit http://www.dcfs.la.gov.