ABAWD Work Program Requirement Overview


What is an ABAWD?

An ABAWD is an able-bodied adult without dependents.  ABAWDs who do not meet any of the ABAWD Work Program Exemptions are subject to the ABAWD WP requirement and time limit.


Mandatory Population and Requirements

All nonexempt ABAWDs between the ages of 18 and 49 must:


Regardless of certification type, ABAWD WP-required individuals must report:



If there is an elderly and/or disabled household member in the SNAP case, there is no gross income limit. These households are only required to report if a household member begins working less than 20 hours per week or 80 hours averaged monthly.


See ABAWD Work Program Participation and Community Service Compliance.



ABAWD WP-required individuals are strongly encouraged to report if they are involved with training, volunteer work, of if they begin working 20 hours per week or an average of 80 hours per month. This could help the ABAWD WP-required household member to continue to receive SNAP benefits. 

Individuals who do not report these changes may be subject to retroactive sanctions unless good cause exists.  For more information please see ABAWD Work Program Sanctions.


You must not submit Overpayment Referrals for individuals who do not report these changes.


Notifying Clients Subject to ABAWD WP Requirements

You must read the ABAWD Requirement Script  when any member of a SNAP household is determined to be subject to the ABAWD WP requirement at application, recertification or when a case maintenance change results in a change in requirement status.  You must document that this conversation occurred in the case Narrative.

A non-exempt ABAWD is issued an ABAWD Work Program Requirement Notice upon approval of an application or recertification and when the client goes from an exempt to a non-exempt status.  This notice informs the client that s/he will become ineligible for SNAP if s/he fails to comply with the work requirement for any 3 countable months during the current 36-month ABAWD clock.

Non-exempt ABAWDs who are not known to be meeting the work requirement receive an ABAWD Work Program Community Service Participation Report prior to each participation month.  This document reminds the ABAWD of his/her WP requirement, the consequences for failing to comply, and tells the client how many hours s/he must volunteer to meet the requirement.




Community service requirements that are met via court system participation may be countable for ABAWD Work Program Community Service.  Clients must provide verification of the hours served each month, but they are not required to use the ABAWD Work Program Community Service Participation Report to do so.  These cases must be referred to an E&T Specialist to review. Once the community service site is entered in BEACON, you must monitor and enter subsequent participation.  


Ineligibility for Failure to Comply

Non-exempt ABAWDs who fail to comply with the WP requirement for any three countable months (which do not have to be consecutive) in a 36-month period are ineligible for SNAP benefits for the remaining months in the 36-month period unless they become exempt from or begin meeting the WP requirement.  See ABAWD Work Program Sanctions.


Countable Months

A countable month is one during which a non-exempt ABAWD received a full (not prorated) SNAP allotment while:


The 36-Month Period

The same 36-month period applies to all SNAP clients, regardless of the application date. The 36-month clock that began on January 1, 2015 will run until December 31, 2017. A new 36 month clock begins on January 1, 2018 and will run until December 31, 2020.


BEACON Automation

BEACON reviews and updates the ABAWD WP exemption reason and requirement statuses of each household member on a nightly basis and whenever the case is wrapped-up.  If not already selected, BEACON automatically updates each client’s exemption reason to the the most permanent applicable exemption reason.  To accomplish this, it relies on data that is available elsewhere in the case record.  For this reason it is imperative that all pages of the BEACON record accurately reflect each client’s circumstances at all times.


Clients ages 18-49 who are exempt from the ABAWD WP requirement receive a BEACON-generated ABAWD Work Program Exemption Notice, with the exception of Bay State CAP clients, those exempt due to age, those exempt due to disability, those meeting TAFDC/EAEDC WP requirements, ineligible household members, and ABAWDs in households that receive $0 benefit.


Case Manager Responsibilities

To support BEACON automation, when processing an application, recertification, or performing case maintenance, you must:

Regaining Eligibility

Clients who are determined ineligible for not complying with the ABAWD WP requirement for any three months during a 36-month period may regain eligibility, if otherwise eligible, by:

There is no limit on how many times an individual may regain eligibility by meeting the work requirement. See Regaining Eligibility.


Maintaining Eligibility

Clients who regain eligibility may remain eligible for the balance of the three-year period as long as they continue to comply with the SNAP WP requirement.


Additional Months Exception

Clients who regain eligibility by complying with the ABAWD WP requirement during a 30 consecutive day period and subsequently fail to comply with the WP requirement are eligible to participate in SNAP for an additional three consecutive months without complying. This exception is limited to a single consecutive three month period during the 36 month clock. BEACON automatically assigns these additional three months when a client qualifies for this exception.



ABAWD Work Program – Policy and Procedures



  Last Update:  August 24, 2018