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Library: Policy

340:50-5-100. Able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) work requirements and time limits

Issued 9-17-18

(a) ABAWD work requirements.Per Section 273.24(a) of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations (7 C.F.R. § 273.24(a)), an ABAWD meets work requirements when he or she:  1

(1) works continuously 20 hours or more per week, averaged monthly.Averaged monthly means 80 hours per month.The employment may be paid, in-kind, unpaid, or volunteer work with religious or community organizations;  2

(2) participates in and complies with the requirements of a work program 20 hours or more per week averaged monthly.Work programs include a:

(A) program assignment under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Public Law (P.L.) 113-128;

(B) program under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Reauthorization Act of 2015, P.L. 114-27 Sections 401 through 407; or

(C) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment and Training (E&T) Program assignment, not including job search or job search training activities.However, job search or job search training activities, when offered as part of other E&T program components, are acceptable as long as those activities comprise less than half the total required time spent in the components;  3

(3) works and participates in a work program for a total of 20 or more hours per week, averaged monthly; or

(4) meets an exemption from the work requirements per (c) of this Section.

(b) General rule.An ABAWD who is a member of an eligible household receiving SNAP food benefits must comply with work requirements per (a) of this Section or be exempt from work requirements per (d) of this Section to be eligible to participate as a member of any food benefit household for more than three countable months, consecutive or otherwise, during any 36-month or three-year period.When the ABAWD meets work requirements per (a) or an exemption per (d) of this Section, he or she is eligible to participate with no time limits.An ABAWD subject to the three-month time limit may also regain eligibility per (f) of this Section.

(1) Countable months.Countable months are months when an ABAWD receives SNAP benefits for the full benefit month while not: 4

(A) exempt from ABAWD work requirements per (d) of this Section;

(B) fulfilling the work requirement per (a) of this Section; or

(C) receiving benefits that are prorated.

(2) Countable months in another state.When there is an indication an ABAWD subject to the time limits received SNAP food benefits in another state in the last 12 months, the worker must verify the number of countable months the person used in the other state per 7 C.F.R. § 273.2(f)(1)(xiv)(B).  5

(3) Measuring the three-year or 36-month time period.Per 7 C.F.R. § 273.24(b)(3), the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) uses a 'fixed- individual clock' for each ABAWD subject to time limits.This means the ABAWD clock starts at the initial application for SNAP benefits when the person is not meeting ABAWD work requirements per (a) of this Section.When the person meetsABAWD work requirements at initial application, the clock starts the month the person uses the first countable month per (b)(1) of this Section.  6

(4) Worker responsibilities.It is the worker's responsibility to:

(A) determine the ABAWD status of each adult household member at application, mid-certification renewal, and certification renewal;

(B) explain rights and responsibilities of each non-exempt household member to the person completing the SNAP application and certification renewal interview including:

(i) ABAWD work requirements and ways to fulfill these requirements;

(ii) exemption criteria;

(iii) the ABAWD's limited benefit eligibility when he or she does not fulfill work requirements; and

(iv) how to regain eligibility after losing benefits; and

(C) update the ABAWD status of an adult household member any time he or she loses an exemption or no longer meets the work requirement.The worker must 'look-back' to determine when the ABAWD lost the exemption or stopped meeting the work requirement.The worker closes food benefits for the person when he or she already used his or her countable months for the 36-month period or corrects the ABAWD status to start the ABAWD's clock per (3) of this paragraph. 7

(5) ABAWD responsibilities.It is the ABAWD's responsibility to:

(A) verify his or her work and/or participation hours or exemption status at application, mid-certification renewal, and certification renewal per 7 C.F.R. § 273.2(f)(1) and (f)(8); and

(B) report when his or her work and/or participation hours drop below 20 hours per week or 80 hours per month within 10-calendar days of the month the hours dropped.

(i) When the ABAWD reports his or her work and/or participation hours dropped below 20 hours per week, the worker determines if the ABAWD is eligible for three countable months.When the ABAWD is:

(I) eligible for three countable months, the worker tracks the months to determine when to close benefits for the ABAWD if he or she does not regain eligibility per (f) of this Section;  8 or

(II) not eligible because he or she received three countable months within the three-year period, the worker closes food benefits for the ABAWD.

(ii) When an ABAWD subject to time limits received SNAP food benefits in error within the most recent three-year period, the benefits are considered as countable months unless the ABAWD pays the benefits back in full per 7 C.F.R. § 273.24(b)(5).

(c) Good cause for failure to meet the ABAWD work requirement.When an ABAWD has good cause for failure to meet the required number of work or participation hours in a given month per (a) of this Section, the ABAWD is considered to have met the work requirement.Per 7 C.F.R. § 273.24(b)(2), good cause applies to situations in which the ABAWD's absence from work is temporary, he or she retains his or her job, and the circumstances are beyond the person's control, such as, but not limited to:  9

(1) illness;

(2) illness of another household member sufficiently serious to require the presence of the ABAWD;

(3) unavailability of transportation; or

(4) an unanticipated emergency.

(d) Exemptions from the ABAWD work requirement.Per 7 C.F.R. § 273.24(c), a person is exempt from the ABAWD work requirement and eligible to participate without time limits, when the person is:

(1) younger than 18 years of age or 50 years of age and older;

(2) medically-certified as physically or mentally unfit for employment.A person is medically-certified as physically or mentally unfit for employment when he or she:

(A) receives permanent or temporary disability benefits issued by governmental or private sources;  10

(B) is obviously mentally or physically unfit for employment.When it is not obvious that he or she is unfit, the person must provide documented evidence from medically-qualified sources to substantiate the medical exemption.  11

(i) Medically-qualified sources may include, but are not limited to, a:

(I) licensed or certified psychologist, therapist, counselor, or social worker;

(II) physician or physician's assistant;

(III) nurse or nurse practitioner; or

(IV) designated representatives of a physician's office.

(ii) The documented evidence must indicate the person has a physical or mental condition that limits the person's ability to work.

(iii) When the medical exemption is temporary, the person is required to comply with work requirements when released by a medically qualified source to return to work; or

(C) is chronically homeless;  12

(3) pregnant;

(4) a parent, natural, adoptive, or step, of a household member younger than 18 years of age, even when the minor child is not eligible for food benefits;

(5) an adult residing in a household with a household member younger than 18 years of age and included in the food benefit household, even when the minor child is not eligible for food benefits;  13  or

(6) otherwise exempt from work requirements per 7 C.F.R. § 273.7(b) and Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:50-5-86.

(e) Persons who regain eligibility.Persons whose food benefits were denied or closed because they received three countable months of food benefits may regain eligibility by meeting work requirements per (a) of this Section for 30-consecutive days.

(1) Regained eligibility by meeting work requirements.When a person regains eligibility, he or she maintains food benefit eligibility without time limits provided he or she continues to meet work requirements per (a) of this Section.Per 7 C.F.R. § 273.24(d)(3), there is no limit to how many times a person may regain eligibility by meeting work requirements.   14The person's food benefits are prorated from the application date.When the person applies before meeting work requirements for 30-consecutive days, the application is denied.

(2) Regained eligibility and then stopped meeting work requirements.When a person regains eligibility and then stops meeting work requirements, he or she is eligible for SNAP food benefits for three-consecutive countable months only.The person may only receive the additional three-countable months once, during the 36-month period.After receiving these three-consecutive months, the person is not eligible for SNAP food benefits in his or her 36-month time period unless he or she regains eligibility by meeting the work rule or becomes exempt per (d) of this Section.  15

(f) ABAWD work requirement waiver prohibition.Per 7 C.F.R. § 273.24(f), states are allowed to request an ABAWD work requirement waiver in certain instances.Effective October 1, 2013, Section 241.3 of Title 56 of the Oklahoma Statutes prohibits DHS from requesting an ABAWD work requirement waiver from the United States Department of Agriculture.

INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:50-5-100

   Revised 10-2-19

1.The worker codes a person meeting able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD) work requirements with a 'W' in the 'work requirement status' field of the Family Assistance/Client Services ABAWD tab.

2.Court-ordered community service hours are not counted toward the person's work or participation hours.

3.The worker refers non-exempt ABAWDs in Oklahoma county to the contracted service provider for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment and Training Program.The ABAWD's participation in the program is voluntary.

4.The worker codes countable months in the FACS ABAWD tab as 'K' months.The computer changes the code to a 'P' when the month is a partial month.

5.(a) The worker must verify benefits received in another state when the person lived in another state in the past 12 months.As Oklahoma uses a 'fixed-individual clock,' the worker must verify if the person received SNAP food benefits in another state during the month of initial application in Oklahoma or since the ABAWD clock for that person began in Oklahoma.No other months count toward SNAP eligibility in Oklahoma.

(b) Examples include, when:

(1) a person moves from Texas and applies in Oklahoma on April 15, 2017.The worker calls Texas and determines the person received benefits for April and this was his or her third ABAWD month and final month of benefits.The worker counts April as the person's first 'K' month in Oklahoma and he or she is eligible for two more 'K' months;

(2) a person received two 'K' months of benefits in Oklahoma in April and May, 2017, and then moved to Arkansas.The person moves back to Oklahoma in December, 2017, and applies for food benefits on December 15, 2017.The worker calls Arkansas and determines the person received three 'K' months in Arkansas in June, July, and August, 2017.The person is not eligible for any more 'K' months in Oklahoma until April, 2020, when the 36-month period ends; and

(3) a person moves to Oklahoma from Kansas in June, 2017, and applies for food benefits on July 20, 2017.The worker calls Kansas and determines the person received three 'K' months of benefits in Kansas for April, May, and June, 2017, and no benefits for July.The person is eligible for three more 'K' months in Oklahoma beginning July, 2017, because the Oklahoma 36-month time period has not begun.The person may receive a partial month of food benefits in July, and full benefits in August, September, and October as countable 'K' months.

(c) Staff uses the ABWO screen to record countable ABAWD months received in another state by entering ABWO space and the person's Social Security number or ABWO at the bottom of the person's ABWI screen.Staff fills in the month, year, and the two digit state abbreviation in which the client received a countable ABAWD month, enters the appropriate ABAWD code, K or Y, depending on when the ABAWD clock started in Oklahoma, and then presses enter.The new information transfers to the ABWI screen.

6.Example of the fixed-individual clock:A person who did not meet ABAWD work requirements and was not exempt applied and was certified for food benefits on February 10, 2016.The ABWI screen shows a prorated or 'P' month for February, 2016, and 'K' months for March, April, and May, 2016.The person's fixed-individual clock started February, 2016, and ends February, 2019.The person is eligible for three-countable months beginning February, 2019.

7.(a) Example: The person meets ABAWD work requirements.The worker certifies food benefits effective February 10, 2016, and codes the 'work requirement status' field with a 'W' in the FACS ABAWD tab.The person reports on May 10, 2016, that he or she is no longer employed.The worker:

(1) verifies the person's job terminated April 28, 2016;

(2) reviews the ABWI screen and determines the person has not used 'K' months and is eligible for three-countable months;

(3) uses the ABWU screen to update ABAWD coding for May to 'K' and the FACS ABAWD tab with a 'K' in the 'work requirement status' field; and

(4) closes the person's food benefits effective August 1, 2016, unless he or she meets ABAWD work requirements in July or becomes exempt.

8.The worker reviews the ABWI screen in IMS by typing ABWI(space)Social Security Number of the person.The ABWU screen shows how many countable (K) months the person received.When the person has not received all three-countable months, the worker changes the 'work requirement status' coding in the FACS ABAWD tab to 'K-Initial ABAWD not meeting the work rule'.

9.Other circumstances beyond the person's control may include when the person's employer closes the business for one or more days because of a holiday or natural disaster.

10.Examples of federal and state programs based on disability are:

(1) vocational rehabilitation;

(2) Veterans Benefits Administration disability compensation;

(3) Social Security Administration disability benefits; and

(4) Supplemental Security Income.

11.A doctor's statement providing a diagnosis is best, but when the person is unable to obtain a doctor's statement, a statement from another medically-qualified source is sufficient.

12.Being chronically homeless, in and of itself, is not an exemption.The person must be unfit for employment due to homelessness.Examples may include not having a place to take a shower, wash clothes, or get ready for work.

13.When the adult purchases food and prepares meals separately from the child, the adult is not eligible for this exemption.

14.The worker codes the 'ABAWD work requirement status' field of the FACS ABAWD tab with a 'M' for 'regained eligibility - maintaining 20 hours per week employment, not countable.'The person is eligible with no time limit, provided his or her work or participation hours do not drop below 20 hours.When the person reports his or her work or participation hours dropped below 20 hours per week, the worker codes the 'ABAWD work requirement status' field with a 'Y' for 'regained eligibility for three-continuous months, countable' unless the person already received the three-consecutive months or meets an exemption.

15.(a) The additional three months must be countable and consecutive.Being a countable month means the benefits are not prorated.When the first month is prorated, the person is eligible for a four-month certification period.This allows the person to receive three full 'Y' months.

(b) When the person receives less than three months, the person is not entitled to receive the additional month(s) at a later date.

(c) The worker codes the 'ABAWD work requirement status' field of the FACS ABAWD tab with a 'Y' for 'regained eligibility for three-continuous months, countable.'

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