If you are applying for SNAP benefits in Pennsylvania, or are currently receiving SNAP benefits, it is important to understand the general work requirements. This will not only help you get benefits but if you are currently receiving SNAP, knowing the work rules will help you keep your benefits.
Additionally, there are special rules that apply to Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWDs).
If you fail to meet the ABAWD rules, you will be disqualified from the SNAP program for a period of time.
In this post, we will explain everything you need to know about the work rules, including exceptions.
In addition, we will explain certain non-work-related activities that you can sign up for to meet the work requirements.
Also, we will discuss the penalties that apply if you do not comply with the general work requirements and the special rules for ABAWDs.
Lastly, we will answer the most frequently asked questions about Pennsylvania SNAP Work Requirements for ABAWDs.
Continue reading below for the Pennsylvania SNAP Work Requirements, including rules for ABAWDs.
Table of Contents:
- What are the SNAP Work Requirements?
- Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents
- Pennsylvania SNAP Work Requirements
- Changes to Pennsylvania SNAP ABAWD Work Requirements
- Who is Exempted from the Pennsylvania ABAWD requirement?
- Employment and Training for SNAP Recipients
- Pennsylvania SNAP ABAWD Work Requirements FAQs
What are the SNAP Work Requirements?
- Registering for work;
- Not voluntarily quitting a job or reducing hours;
- Taking a job if offered; and
- Participating in employment and training programs, if assigned by the state.
Failure to meet these requirements results in disqualification from SNAP for one month for the first instance, three months for the second, and six months for the third.
However, some states have harsher disqualification timeframes. Continue reading below for the Pennsylvania SNAP Work Requirements:
Who is exempted from SNAP Work Requirements?
You are excused from the general work requirements if you are any one of these things:
- Already working at least 30 hours a week (or earning wages at least equal to the Federal minimum wage multiplied by 30 hours)
- Meeting work requirements for another program (TANF or unemployment compensation)
- Taking care of a child under 6 or an incapacitated person
- Unable to work due to a physical or mental limitation
- Participating regularly in an alcohol or drug treatment program
- Studying in school or a training program at least half-time (but college students are subject to other eligibility rules).
If you have to meet the general work requirements but you don’t, you are disqualified from getting SNAP for at least a month and must start meeting the requirements to get SNAP again.
If you get back on SNAP and then don’t meet the requirements again, then you are disqualified for longer than a month and you could be disqualified forever.
Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents
In addition, able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) are required to work or participate in a work program for at least 20 hours per week in order to receive SNAP benefits for more than 3 months in a 36-month period.
Who is considered an ADAWD?
An Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD) is a person between the ages of 18 and 49 who has no dependents and is not disabled.
This does not include children, seniors, and any adults who are responsible for raising a minor.
ABAWDs must meet special requirements, in addition to the general SNAP work requirements, or they will be subject to the time limit and lose their benefits.
However, states can ask the federal government to waive time limits and work requirements for people subject to ABAWD rules who live in areas with high unemployment or insufficient jobs.
Continue reading below for the Pennsylvania SNAP Work Requirements, including rules for ABAWDs.
Pennsylvania SNAP Work Requirements
In the state of Pennsylvania, SNAP recipients who are designated as able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) must meet additional works requirements unless the rules have been waived in their area:
To be considered an ABAWD, a SNAP recipient must:
- Be between ages 18-49
- Have no dependents
- Work or participate in a work program to maintain eligibility for SNAP
Changes to Pennsylvania SNAP ABAWD Work Requirements
Able-bodied adults without dependents in Pennsylvania are subject to the 3 months in a 3-year time limit unless they:
- Qualify for an “exemption”
- Work or participate in a work program at least 20 hours per week (averaged monthly)
- Are in school or training at least half-time (must meet other eligibility rules for students)
- Volunteer or perform community service to “work” for benefits, usually for 26 hours per month
- Live in an area waived due to insufficient jobs
Community service is unpaid or volunteer work at a non-profit or religious organization or government site.
The number of volunteer hours required is based on your monthly SNAP benefit divided by the state minimum wage – $7.25 per hour.
For example, someone receiving $194 in SNAP per month must volunteer 26 hours/month – or 6 ½ hours/week
Additionally, the DHS can provide a “special allowances” to pay for your transportation to a community service site.
However, the community organization needs to sign the Community Service Agency Agreement (form PA 1694).
If you fail to complete any of the described work requirements, you will receive three months of SNAP benefits during a fixed three-year period.
The three-year period is the same for everyone.
The current period started January 1, 2018 and will run through December 31, 2020.
Everyone who uses up their three months of SNAP during this period will get another set of three months starting January 1, 2021.
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) will notify all ABAWDs regarding work rules and any changes.
Who is Exempted from the Pennsylvania ABAWD requirement?
You are excused from the ABAWD work requirement and time limit if you are any one of these things:
- Unable to work due to a physical or mental limitation;
- Have someone under 18 in your SNAP household;
- Excused from the general work requirements (see above).
If you have to meet the ABAWD work requirement but you don’t, you will lose your benefits after 3 months.
To get SNAP again, you must meet the ABAWD work requirement for a 30-day period or become excused.
Otherwise, you need to wait until the end of your 3-year period, when you’ll get another 3 months under the time limit.
Employment and Training for SNAP Recipients
If you receive SNAP benefits in Pennsylvania, you can volunteer to participate in employment and training programs that can help you get back to school or guide you on your career pathway.
Click here to learn more about the employment and training programs available to SNAP recipients.
Pennsylvania SNAP ABAWD Work Requirements FAQs
Here are the most frequently asked questions about Pennsylvania SNAP Work Requirements for ABAWDs:
Can you get Food Stamps in Pennsylvania without a job?
If the SNAP work requirements apply to you, you must be working or in a training program for at least 20 hours a week to receive benefits.
SNAP has two sets of work requirements:
If you are age 16 – 59 and able to work, you will probably need to meet the general work requirements to get SNAP benefits.
The general work requirements include:
- Registering for work
- Participating in SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) or workfare if assigned by your state SNAP agency,
- Taking a suitable job if offered, and not voluntarily quitting a job or reducing your work hours below 30 a week without a good reason.
Additionally, if you are age 18 – 49, able to work, and don’t have any dependents, you might need to meet both the general work requirements and an additional work requirement for ABAWDs to get SNAP for more than 3 months in 3 years (the time limit).
When did the ABAWD 3-month rule come into effect?
Congress created the 3-month time limit rule as part of welfare reform in 1996.
When does the 3-month period run?
The 3-month clock starts with the first full month of SNAP benefits and adds to the count each full month when benefits are
- If SNAP benefits are not received each month, the clock stops
- The clock ends the last day of the third month
Once an ABAWD receives 3 countable months of benefits, he/she will not be eligible again until:
- The new three-year fixed period begins, OR
- They regain eligibility by meeting an exemption or the work and/or community
- They can get another 3 months if they’ve worked 80 hours/month (even if they
leave the job)
When does the 3-year period run?
The 3-year clock is a fixed period for everyone in the state of Pennsylvania.
The current 3-year fixed period is from Jan. 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2020.
A new 3-year clock will begin Jan. 1, 2021 and run through Dec. 31, 2023
Also, for each fixed 3-year fixed period, an ABAWD can receive a new count of 3-months of SNAP benefits.
How can I meet the Non-Work Activities – 20 hour/week requirement?
Activities that can meet 20 hours/week requirement (alone or in combination) include:
- Advanced degree (college) classes
- Skill/Vocational training classes
- English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) classes
- Adult Basic Education (ABE)/ Literacy classes
- GED/High school remediation classes
- Work experience/vocational experience
- Programs through Career Links (WIOA programs)
- Community service/ workfare
Also, those enrolled in school at least half time are exempt from the ABAWD requirements. Therefore, they do not need
to combine hours with other activities.
Pennsylvania SNAP Work Requirements Summary
Here’s the bottom line about Pennsylvania SNAP Work Requirements:
All adults ages 16 to 59 who are not otherwise exempt must comply with a general work requirement to receive SNAP benefits.
Able-bodied adults without dependents are required to work or participate in a work program for at least 20 hours per week in order to receive SNAP benefits for more than 3 months in a 36-month period.
We hope this post on the Pennsylvania SNAP Work Requirements was helpful.
If you have further questions about Pennsylvania SNAP or EBT Card, please let us know in the comments section below.
For more help on what and where you can use your Pennsylvania EBT Card, check out our other articles here:
Pennsylvania SNAP Benefits FAQs
How to Create COMPASS Online Account
My COMPASS Account Login
How to get a Pennsylvania EBT Card Replacement
February Extra SNAP Benefits for PA
Does Whole Foods Accept Food Stamps in PA?
Using SNAP Benefits at Costco