June 21, 2023

New Work Reporting Requirements for Older SNAP Participants: Frequently Asked Questions

Note: This document includes answers to some of the questions Floridians may have about the expansion of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program work reporting requirements in the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023. Although this document will be updated to reflect any changes, Florida Policy Institute recommends consulting the Department of Children and Families website for up-to-date details about the implementation of these new requirements.

The debt ceiling agreement brokered by members of Congress in the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 expands Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) work requirements to older “able-bodied adults without dependents” (ABAWDs) aged 50 to 54. 

Who will be impacted by the new work reporting requirements?

The new law expands work reporting requirements to ABAWDs aged 50 to 54. An ABAWD is an adult who is not pregnant and has no children or mental or physical health limitations that interfere with work. The term “ABAWD” comes directly from federal law.

What are the new ABAWD work reporting requirements and how will they be phased in?

Currently, ABAWDs under age 50 must work or participate in a work or job training program for at least 80 hours every month. The new law expands this reporting requirement to older ABAWDs in phases beginning October 1, 2023. On October 1, 2023, the age limit will expand to include 51- and 52-year-olds; the age limit will be expanded to include 53- and 54-year-olds on October 1, 2024. 

What are the risks to ABAWDs if the state decides that they have not met the work reporting requirements?

ABAWDs subject to work reporting requirements who do not meet the mandatory 80-hour-a-month work requirement can be penalized in two ways: 

  • Time limits: Participants will be limited to SNAP benefits for 3 months every 3 years. 
  • Sanctions: Participants’ SNAP assistance — and, in many cases, the SNAP assistance of everyone in the household — will be cut off as a sanction, even if they have not exhausted their time limit.

Does the new law exempt new groups of people from the ABAWD work reporting requirements?

Although the new law extends work reporting requirements to older participants, it also establishes new exemptions to the requirement. Under the new exemptions, veterans, people experiencing homelessness, and former foster youth no longer have to meet the SNAP work reporting requirement. 

What can SNAP participants in Florida do to protect themselves?

There are several steps that SNAP participants in Florida can take as these new work reporting requirements go into effect.

First, participants should read all notices from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Department of Economic Opportunity, or DEO (the state agency in Florida that administers the SNAP work program) and take appropriate action. This is especially important because many participants run afoul of work reporting requirements by failing to respond to their initial notice. In addition, the notice will contain appeal rights, including time-sensitive deadlines to appeal, for people who disagree with the decision.

People should advise the state immediately if they believe that they are exempt from work reporting requirements or have a good reason (called good cause) for not being able to comply with the requirement.

  • DCF suggests that people report their exemption or good cause reason in their My ACCESS Account by selecting “Report a Change,” or by contacting the Customer Call Center at 850-300-4323.  It is a good idea to do both to ensure that DCF sees and processes the report.
  • One of DCF’s community partners may also be able to assist SNAP participants in reaching out to the state about their work reporting status, including exemptions and good cause reasons.

Second, participants who are able to comply should take action to follow through with the work reporting requirement.

Third, people should contact their local legal services office for possible help if they have problems with work reporting requirements.

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