Food Stamps if you don't have dependents
WHAT IS ABAWD?
For food stamp purposes, an ABAWD is an able-bodied adult without dependents. Individuals under age 18 and over age 50 are not included.
SHOULD ABLE-BODIED ADULTS WITHOUT DEPENDENTS WHO GET FOOD STAMPS BE CONCERNED?
YES. Beginning July 1, 2015, food stamp benefits are time-limited for able-bodied adults without dependents. An ABAWD may receive food stamps for ONLY three months in a thirty-six month period unless he or she meets one of the following requirements:
- Work an average of twenty hours per week for a total of eighty hours per month;
- Take part in an approved employment and training activity (for example, job search up to 12 weeks, job readiness, job skills evaluation, job skills training, vocational education, and GED test preparation, and English as a Second Language) for a minimum of twenty hours per week (IMPACT);
- Work and take part in an approved employment and training activity for a combined minimum of twenty hours per week; or
- Perform Workfare (Community Work Experience) for the number of hours you get when you divide the food stamp allotment by $7.25.
If the agency determined you are an ABAWD, you should have been automatically referred to IMPACT in July 2015 for an orientation meeting.
HOW DO I GET INTO AN APPROVED EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING ACTIVITY OR COMMUNITY WORK EXPERIENCE?
You will need to attend an orientation appointment, where the options available to you will be discussed. You will be asked to develop a self-sufficiency plan with the help of the agency. Lack of transportation, lack of clothing suitable for work, and other barriers to work should be addressed in your self-sufficiency plan. The program may help with the cost of transportation and clothing.
If you missed your appointment in July or if you did not receive notice of an appointment, you should contact FSSA right away to schedule an appointment. You can reach FSSA at 1-800-403-0864 or you can visit your local office.
If you do not believe that your self-sufficiency plan is adequate to address your barriers to employment, you may appeal.
WHAT IF I AM NOT ABLE-BODIED?
If the food stamp office says you are able-bodied, you may continue to get food stamps if you provide:
- Proof that you receive private or public total disability benefits; or
- A signed statement from your doctor or other medical provider confirming that you are unable to do any work due to a specified illness or injury. The statement should say how long you will be unable to work.
This information is provided as a public service by Indiana Legal Services, Inc. This is not legal advice. Indiana Legal Services, Inc., provides free legal services including advice to low income individuals and to individuals over the age of 60.