IM-194 10/24/01 CHANGES TO WORK REQUIREMENTS FOR ABAWDs
|CHANGES TO WORK REQUIREMENTS FOR ABAWDs
MANUAL REVISION #48
|The following changes to the work requirement
policy for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) age 18 to 50
are effective immediately. These changes are the result of the recent
finalization of Food Stamp Program regulations.
This memo covers changes regarding:
Working 20 hours per week, averaged monthly is clarified to mean working 80 hours per month.
Individuals who would have worked an average of 20 hours per week (80 hours per month) but missed some work for a good cause are considered to be meeting the work requirement if the absence from work is temporary and the individual retains his/her job. Determine whether or not the individual had good cause when the number of hours worked falls below an average of 20 hours per week (80 hours a month). Refer to the Food Stamp Manual, Section 1105.025.40 when making a good cause determination.
The definition of work is expanded to include unpaid work. Individuals subject to the 18 to 50 year old work requirement may meet that requirement by working an average of 20 hours per week for money, goods, unpaid work, or a combination of the aforementioned.
Unpaid work must be an activity that teaches skills that will assist in obtaining employment. For example, an individual volunteering in a hospital reception area where s/he is answering phones and directing visitors would be learning skills that could be used on a job. Obtain verification of the number of hours worked in the volunteer position, using normal verification procedures, to determine whether or not the work requirement is being met.
Treatment of the Disqualified ABAWD's Income
When an individual subject to the 18 to 50 year old work requirement becomes ineligible for benefits due to not meeting the work requirement, count a pro rata share of the disqualified member's income and expenses to the remaining household members. The Food Stamp Manual is being revised.
Benefits Received in Error
When an individual subject to the 18 to 50 year old work requirement receives benefits in error, the months received in error must be considered non-work months until the benefits are repaid in full.
For example: Mr. M is receiving food stamp benefits in the months of July, August, and September while not meeting the work requirement. July, August, and September have been entered into FTWR as non-work months. When Mr. M reapplies for benefits in September, he states he began working August 5. It is determined Mr. M received an over-issuance in the month of September. Since Mr. M owes benefits, September will continue to be considered a non-work month until Mr. M repays those benefits.
Enter those months in which benefits were received in error in FTWR. Once the benefits have been repaid, remove the months from FTWR.
Change Reporting Requirement
Individuals subject to the 18 to 50 year old work requirement, are required to report when their number of hours worked fall below an average of 20 hours a week. This includes earned income households certified for six months subject to the earned income reporting requirement.
When a household reports an individual subject to the 18 to 50 year old work requirement is working less than an average of 20 hours per week, determine:
If no good cause and the individual has not used all non-work months, determine the impact on the household's benefits and take action. For earned income households only adjust the benefit amount if the change results in an increase in benefits.
Make the appropriate adjustment for individuals residing in all other households and who have not used all non-work months.
Exemption Due to Child in Home
Able-bodied adults without dependents age 18 to 50 are exempt from the work requirements if any individual at the same residence is under age 18. This exemption applies even if the individual who is under age 18 is not eligible for food stamp benefits. Enter code 50 in field 51 of FSU5 for individuals who are exempt because they reside at a residence where there is an individual under age 18 who is not included in the food stamp household.
Non-work Months in Another State
If an ABAWD indicates s/he has participated in the Food Stamp Program in another state, verification of non-work months used in the other state must be obtained. Record those months in FTWR.
Individuals who have not used all six non-work months may participate in the Food Stamp Program for the remaining months while not meeting the work requirement if they meet all other eligibility requirements.
An ABAWD who has lost eligibility due to having received benefits in six non-work months in a 36-month period may regain eligibility for food stamp benefits. To regain eligibility ABAWDs must work 80 hours in a 30 day period. There is no limit to the number of times an ABAWD can regain eligibility as long as s/he meets the work requirement during the certification.
Additional Three Non-Work Month Eligibility
An ABAWD who is ineligible due to having used six non-work months in a 36-month period of time and who is not meeting the work requirement, may receive benefits for an additional three non-work months one time in a 36 month period. Eligibility for the additional three non-work months begins on the date the individual first notifies us that s/he is no longer meeting the work requirement, provided the individual is receiving food stamps. If the individual is not receiving food stamps s/he must have met the 80 hour regained eligibility requirement prior to becoming eligible for the additional three non-work months.
Note: An individual who is sanctioned, (for example due to voluntary job quit), is not considered to be receiving benefits. The three additional non-work months do not begin until the individual actually receives benefits.
Once applied, the additional three non-work months run consecutively whether or not the individual receives benefits during all three months.
ABAWDs are not again eligible for the additional three non-work months for 36 months. A new field is being added to FTWR to enter the date an individual is next eligible for the three non-work months.
For Example: Ms. A received food stamp benefits in the months of March, April, May, June, July, and August 1998 while not meeting the work requirement. She becomes employed and regains eligibility for food stamp benefits. She can continue to receive benefits as long as she meets the work requirement.
In June 2000, during her current certification she loses her job through no fault of her own. She has already received her six non-work months in the past 36 months. Because she is receiving food stamps at the time she no longer meets the work requirement, she is now eligible for the three additional non-work months beginning in June 2000.
Because Ms. A is only eligible for the
additional three non-work months one time in 36 months, Ms. A will not
again be eligible for an additional three non-work months until June 2003.
Workforce Investment Act
The Division of Family Services no longer contracts with the Division of Workforce Development to provide Workforce Investment Act services to able bodied adults without dependents. The Food Stamp Manual is being updated to reflect this change.
The Division of Family Services continues to have a contract with the St. Charles County Workforce Development Center to serve ABAWDs. The St. Charles County Workforce Investment Center continues serving ABAWDs residing in Lincoln, Pike, Warren, St. Charles, and St. Louis County, and St. Louis City.