No SNAP. Public Health announced today that able-bodied adults without dependents or ABAWD will have to find work effective Oct. 1.

The waiver application extension to remove the three-month benefits time limit within three years for the ABAWD to receive the taxpayer-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistive Program was rejected by the Food and Nutrition Service agency.

Human Services Program Administrator Annie Sotto said this affects about 14% of SNAP recipients in Guam.

“We have about 15,000 people under the SNAP program and about 5,000 are considered ABAWD and about 2,100 are not exempted," she said. 

The exemptions apply to minors and man’amko or those under the age of 18 or 50 years of age or older, medically certified as physically or mentally unfit for employment, responsible for a dependent child in their SNAP household, residing in a household where a household member is under age 18, pregnant, and those exempt from the SNAP work requirements.

But those who not exempted still have an option to remain on the assistive program. However, there are certain conditions that are required.

Sotto said, either way, they will still have to find a job.

“They must work at least 20 hours per week or 80 hours per month, participate in a work program like the Guam Employment Training program, at least 80 hours a month or other educational training work at least 20 hours per week or in any combination working in a work program,” she said.

In 2016 the Trump administration tightened up work requirements for ABAWD recipients, Sotto said Public Health has applied every year since then to have the three-month waiver extended without success.

Other areas the administration is looking at trimming the fat in SNAP are the unlimited carryover of ABAWD percentage exemptions and the categorical eligibility for SNAP to families under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF program. These requirements are intended to “foster self-sufficiency” as stated by the Food and Nutrition Service.