DHHR Announces Changes in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Able-bodied Adults Without Dependents Must Meet Work Requirements
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) is reminding Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD) in nine counties that they will need to meet a work or education requirement per federal policy in order to continue receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. This requirement will go into effect January 1, 2016, in Berkeley, Cabell, Harrison, Jefferson, Kanawha, Marion, Monongalia, Morgan, and Putnam counties. The goal of this federal policy is to provide needed employment and training opportunities for those defined as an ABAWD in the above counties.
The nine counties selected for this program have the lowest unemployment rates in West Virginia, which indicates an economic environment conducive to workforce re-entry.
Under this policy, in order to maintain SNAP benefit eligibility, SNAP benefit recipients in the selected counties, age 18 but not yet 50 years old, who have no dependent children, must either qualify for an exemption or consistently participate in a work or educational activity for a monthly average of 20 hours per week. A SNAP/ABAWD client’s failure to meet the work or educational activity requirements will result in a loss of the client’s SNAP benefits.
SNAP recipients in these counties will be exempted from the work or educational activity requirement if they meet one of the following exemptions: receiving SNAP benefits with an individual under the age of 18; working 30 hours per week or earning 30 times the federal minimum wage per week; receiving unemployment compensation; regularly participating in a drug addiction or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation program; responsible for caring for an incapacitated adult; medically certified as unfit for work; or currently at least a half-time student.
DHHR is partnering with WorkForce West Virginia to offer the SNAP Employment and Training Program to assist SNAP recipients who must meet the work requirement. To accommodate these individuals, DHHR will collaborate with WorkForce Investment Boards (WIBs) located in Charleston, Huntington, White Hall and Martinsburg. This program will help SNAP recipients with placement in an educational activity, a work-related program to prepare recipients for employment, or to gain employment.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
Media contact: DHHRCommunications@wv.gov or (304) 558-7899.