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"Good Cause​" for Failing to Meet the ABAWD Work Requirements

"Good cause" excuses a SNAP household member's temporary non-compliance with the ABAWD work requirements.  If the client meets ABAWD work requirements and experiences a month where the client did not average at least 20 hours per week or 80 hours in a month, explore whether the client failed to meet their responsibility due to "good cause."

In order to have a "good cause" excuse for not meeting the ABAWD work requirements, you must show the client
  1. experienced a temporary absence from their employment,
  2. retains their job, and
  3. did not exercise "control" over the situation.

Document why the person trying to meet the ABAWD work requirements did not meet the work or participation hours and whether they had "good cause."

If the person does not have "good cause," determine if the person qualifies for "K or Y months" or an ABAWD exemption.  If the person does not qualify for "K or Y months" or an ABAWD exemption, then remove them from SNAP, update the ABAWD history (ABWU), and determine if the household incurred an overpayment.

Example 1:  

Sally applies for SNAP benefits on 03/05/2017.  This application is her first application for SNAP benefits.  She reports no ABAWD exemptions, and she works at a furniture store.  She receives $8.50 per hour for 22 hours of work per week.  When she submits her income verification, it shows she worked 14 hours, 18 hours, 22 hours, and 21 hours in the last four weeks.  She explains she fell ill and missed a couple of shifts due to her illness, but she works more than 20 hours now.  Can she still meet work requirements? 

Yes.  The "good cause" exemption applies to this scenario.  Her work hours total 75 hours (14+18+22+21=75) for the month and average 18.75 weekly (75/4=18.75), but "good cause" excuses this situation.  She cannot control her illness.  Her illness was temporary, and she retains her job.   

Example 2:

Trina works as lifeguard at the community pool.  She applies for SNAP benefits on 09/27/2017.  This application is her first application for SNAP benefits.  She reports the pool has closed for the season and will not reopen until May 2018.  She explains she remains employed and will return to work in May 2018.  Should we consider Trina as meeting the work requirements? 

No.  The situation remains outside of Trina's control, and she retains her job.  However, her absence from work hardly seems temporary.  Code this client for "K months." 

Example 3:

Jack, aged 30, works in the cafeteria at the local school.  He works 25 hours per week during the regular school term.  He earns $8.00 per hour.  He applies and receives SNAP benefits on 01/28/2017.  His monthly gross income is $860 (27 hours per week*$8.00 per hour=$200 weekly gross income*4.3 conversion factor from Policy=$860.00 monthly gross income).  Jack submits his SNAP renewal on 06/15/2017.  His income documentation shows 25 hours, 0 hours, 7 hours, and 20 hours of work in the past four weeks. He explains the school district does not pay him between the end of the regular school term and the beginning of the summer term.  His summer work hours, he expects, should average around 20 hours per week during the summer term.  Should we consider Jack as meeting the work requirements? 

Yes.  The school district--not Jack--controls whether he can work between the fall and summer terms.  He now works at least 20 hours per week, so he did not lose his job or experience a permanent loss of work.  "Good cause" applies to this scenario.   

What happens if, instead of averaging 20 hours over the summer term, Jack can only average 18 hours of work over the summer? 

In this situation, the condition causing Jack to work under 20 hours per week is no longer temporary.  He still experiences the temporary loss due to switching from the fall to summer terms, but his regular schedule during the summer does not meet work requirements.  We must code Jack for "K months." 

Example 4: 

Norman, aged 23, originally qualifies for SNAP benefits on 07/21/2018.  He is self employed as a carpenter.  He began this work in 05/2017.  He submits his mid-certification renewal on 01/10/2017 and provides verification that his job ended on 11/15/2017.  Norman reports his boss fired him because he complained about not receiving his correct pay.  Should we consider Norman as meeting the work requirements? 

No.  By losing his job (whether it was his fault or not), Norman makes it impossible for you to apply "good cause" to his circumstances.  You must reevaluate his Nov 2017 and Dec 2017 ABAWD coding.

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