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FAQs for SNAP Recipients Classified as ABAWDs

Questions about the SNAP Time Limit Rule for ABAWDs
What is an ABAWD?

ABAWD stands for Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents. That means someone who is:

  • Age 18 to 49;
  • Not living with a child under age 18; and
  • Considered able-bodied (able to work, not disabled).

SNAP recipients who meet the ABAWD definition must comply with federal ABAWD work requirements, or qualify for a federal exemption (or exception), in order to continue receiving food assistance. See next question for additional information.

What is the SNAP Time Limit Rule?

Under federal rules set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service, a SNAP recipient who meets the definition of an ABAWD (see above) can receive only 3 months of benefits in a 36-month period, unless that person meets the ABAWD work requirement or qualifies for an exemption (or exception).

For Louisiana SNAP recipients, that 36-month period runs from April 2020 through March 2023.

Does the SNAP Time Limit Rule apply to all Louisiana parishes?

No. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service granted a waiver for 14 parishes that have higher unemployment rates. Those parishes are Assumption, Catahoula, Concordia, East Carroll, Franklin, Madison, Morehouse, Richland, St. Landry, St. Mary, Tensas, Vernon, West Carroll and Winn.

SNAP recipients in these 14 parishes who are classified as ABAWDs must still register with the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

What are the possible exemptions from the SNAP Time Limit rule and ABAWD work requirement?

Recipients may qualify for an exemption (or exception) if:

  • Your SNAP case includes a child under age 18 (even if this is not your child);
  • You are responsible for the care of a child under age 6 or an incapacitated person (Form OFS 90L);
  • You are getting disability benefits or veterans disability benefits (at any percentage);
  • You have a physical or mental disability that makes you unable to work at least 80 hours per month (Form SNAP 90);
  • You have experienced physical or psychological trauma from domestic violence and are unable to work at least 80 hours per month;
  • You are getting unemployment benefits;
  • You are regularly participating in a drug or alcohol treatment program;
  • You are pregnant (at any stage); or
  • You are attending school (Form OFS 7ST).

Exemptions must be verified. If you are a SNAP recipient classified as an ABAWD and you believe you qualify for any of these exemptions, you must contact DCFS either by emailing or by calling 1-888-LA-HELP-U (1-888-524-3578).

What is the ABAWD work requirement? How can I meet it?

ABAWD Work Requirement

SNAP recipients who meet the definition of an ABAWD, and who do not qualify for an exemption (or exception), must meet the federal ABAWD work requirement to continue receiving food assistance. Options for meeting the ABAWD work requirement include:

  • Working in a job (for pay, for goods or services, or as a volunteer) for at least 80 hours per month;
  • Participating in an employment and training program for at least 80 hours per month;
  • Working and participating in any combination of the above for a total of at least 80 hours per month.

DCFS is currently expanding career opportunities for SNAP recipients through the SNAP Employment and Training Program (SNAP E&T). For more information about SNAP E&T, visit Employment and training programs are also available through the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Hours can be documented using Forms OFS 87 (work), OFS 7ST (training), and ABAWD 6 (volunteer).

What does it mean to work for goods or services?

This is when someone does some sort of work in exchange for something other than money. For example, doing work around an apartment complex in exchange for free or reduced rent would be considered "work for goods or services." The goods or services received in exchange for work could be things like housing, food, child care, etc.

What kind of unpaid/volunteer work counts toward the ABAWD work requirement? 

Unpaid work must be at a recognized business or at a private, public or nonprofit organization in order for the volunteer hours to count toward the ABAWD work requirement. Volunteer work supervised by a relative, or volunteering in a private home where no bona fide business is operated from the home, would not count toward the ABAWD work requirement.

The Verification of ABAWD Volunteer Hours form (ABAWD 6 form) may be used to verify the number of volunteer hours. Verification will be required at several points during your case, including at application, simplified report, redetermination and when a change in hours is reported.

Do I still need to register with the Louisiana Workforce Commission and participate in LWC programs?

All SNAP applicants and recipients who are not exempt from work registration requirements are considered Mandatory Work Registrants and must still register with the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Although the state requirement for SNAP recipients classified as ABAWDs to have active participation with the LWC Business and Career Solutions Centers is no longer in effect, the LWC is a valuable resource in finding employment opportunities for meeting the federal ABAWD work requirement.

For more information about SNAP's general work requirements or the ABAWD work requirement in particular, visit


SNAP Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the agency (state or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

1. Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

2. Fax: (202) 690-7442; or

3. Email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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