The Rest of The Story-February Partner Newsletter Article 3

ABAWD Work Requirements:

What you need to know: The federal work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) to receive Food & Nutrition Services ( FNS or Food Stamps) in North Carolina is going back into effect on January 1, 2016 (for Buncombe Henderson and Haywood counties), or July 1 2016, (for all other counties in Western North Carolina). After this date, ABAWD individuals may only receive FNS benefits for up to three months within a 36 month period – unless that individual meets the work requirements.  While MANNA’s FNS Outreach team is always available to answer your questions by phone or email, we wanted to provide you with the answers to some common FAQs about the ABAWD rule and work requirements.  Take a look!

Who is an ABAWD?

An ABAWD is an able-bodied (not disabled) individual between the ages of 18 and 49 who has no dependents living with him/her.

Who doesn’t have to meet work requirements?

An individual is considered exempt from ABAWD work requirements if any of the following criteria are met:

  • Individuals under the age of 18 and/or over the age of 49.
  • Individuals already working 20+ hours/week or earning $218+/week (on a monthly average)
  • Anyone documented by a licensed medical practitioner or clinical social worker as being medically, physically or mentally unfit for employment. This includes recipients of SSI, SSDI, Medicaid disability, VA needs-based pension payments, and other disability benefits.
  • Anyone who has applied for and/or is receiving unemployment benefits
  • Anyone who is pregnant
  • Anyone with a minor (under the age of 18) in their FNS household
  • Anyone that is a caretaker for an incapacitated person
  • Anyone living on the street, in a car or in a homeless shelter
  • Anyone with a 3rd party collateral statement from a doctor, social worker, or counselor that can attest to the individual’s alcohol and or drug addiction that is making them unfit for work
  • Anyone that is an eligible student

If I am classified as an ABAWD, how do I meet the work requirements?

  • By working 20 hours/week, paid or unpaid, averaged monthly (so 80 hours on average per month)
  • By participating 20 hours/week in an eligible Employment & Training program, averaged monthly
  • By volunteering at a non-profit organization or working in lieu of rent. Call your FNS maintenance caseworker to confirm your household’s volunteer hour requirement.

What documentation will be required?

  • Standard paystubs or proof of employment is accepted
  • A written statement by your supervisor about the hours worked and work done may be acceptable as proof of work. Be sure they include a signature, date and contact information.
  • Proof of completed volunteer work or work for rent may have to be provided on a monthly basis
  • Employment or Employment & Training Programs – ask your caseworker what documentation is acceptable
  • Failure to provide adequate documentation as is requested by your caseworker in the timeline requested may result in loss of FNS benefits.

What else should I know?

  • If you don’t know what volunteer work is available in your area, the best place to start is by calling the United Way at 2-1-1.
  • Paid and unpaid work may be combined to reach the average total of 80 hours per month, ask your caseworker about how to document this and what is acceptable.
  • The three months of benefits within 36 is total – not consecutive. Those three months can be used at any time within a 36 month period. If you are currently receiving FNS benefits and you are an ABAWD, you may be using one of your months of benefits right now. If you think you may be exempt, you need to let your caseworker know right away.


You can always ask questions at your County’s Dept of Social Services or call the

The MANNA Food Helpline

1 800-820-1109

and/or call the FNS Outreach Program Manager at MANNA FoodBank, Jason Turnbull

Email Address: Phone: 828-299-3663    ext. 1254