N.J. Admin. Code § 10:87-10.20 - Mandatory work activity for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDS)

Current through Register Vol. 54, No. 7, April 4, 2022

(a) Under the ABAWDS provision, unless exempt, an individual cannot continue to receive NJ SNAP benefits if, for more than three full calendar months within a fixed 36-month period, he or she did not:
1. Work at least 20 hours per week (averaged monthly);
i. A recipient who is an employee under contract for employment on average of 20 hours/week (for example, a school employee) shall be considered to be continuing to meet the 20 hours per week requirement during temporary breaks between contracts, provided the employee intends to continue such employment after the contract expires, and that the total hours worked throughout the calendar year average at 20 hours per week; or
2. For 20 hours or more per week, participate in and comply with a WIA or Trade Adjustment Assistance Act (TAA) program activity, or NJ SNAP Employment and Training Program (NJ SNAP ETP) activity other than a job search or job search training program; or
3. Participate in and comply with a NJ SNAP workfare program, or a State-approved workfare program.
(b) Each 36-month fixed period applies to an individual recipient, not to the entire NJ SNAP household. Once a 36-month period expires for a recipient, another shall immediately commence. It is possible to have different 36-month periods for two different recipients in the same household.
1. When calculating the three full calendar months within a fixed 36-month period, as cited at (a) above, the receipt of a partial month of NJ SNAP benefits shall not be included.
(c) The ABAWDS provision does not apply to an individual during a month in which the individual is:
1. Under 18 or over 50 years of age;
i. "Over 50 years of age," for this purpose, is defined as the date the individual becomes age 50.
ii. A recipient becomes subject to the ABAWDS provision the month following the month in which the recipient turns 18 years of age.
2. Residing in certain specific municipalities or counties in New Jersey that have been approved by USDA to be exempt from the ABAWDS provision, based upon criteria prescribed by USDA. Also, an additional 15 percent of the ABAWD population may be waived. Both DFD and the CWAs retain a list of those approved counties and municipalities, as well as the categories of ABAWDs exempted under the discretionary 15 percent. The specific regions exempted from the ABAWDS provision and the categories for the discretionary exemptions are subject to periodic review by both DFD and USDA and, therefore, are subject to change.
3. Medically certified as physically or mentally unfit for employment. The certification worker shall document in the case record the verification methods utilized to determine that the recipient is unfit for employment. The CWA may utilize any of the following criteria to determine if the individual can be medically certified as physically or mentally unfit for employment:
i. Eligibility for SSI benefits for the blind or disabled, with the exception of "essential persons" (as defined by SSA);
ii. Receipt of temporary or permanent disability benefits issued by governmental or private sources; or
iii. A statement from a physician or licensed or certified psychologist which substantiates the applicant's claim of disability. The certification worker may obtain such medical verification either in writing or by telephone.
4. A parent or other member of a household with responsibility for a dependent child, age under 18. (This exemption may be allowed for more than one adult responsible for the same child.);
5. Pregnant; or
6. Exempt from NJ SNAP work requirements at 10:87-10.2(b), with the exception of individuals who are exempt due to incapacity (10:87-10.2(b)4 ).
(d) An individual losing NJ SNAP eligibility due to the ABAWDS provision can regain eligibility for up to a maximum of three consecutive additional months if, during a 30-day period, the individual first:
1. Works 80 hours or more;
2. For 80 hours or more, participates in and complies with either a WIA or TAA program activity, or an NJ SNAP ETP activity other than a job search or job search training program; or
3. Participates in and complies with either an NJ SNAP workfare program, or a State-approved workfare program.
(e) Once the individual has met the reinstatement criteria in (d) above, he or she may participate (if otherwise eligible) in the Program for an extension period of three consecutive months while not being exempt from the ABAWDS provision.
(f) Once the three months of extended benefits are exhausted, the individual can only participate in the Program if he or she either meets the criteria in (a) or (c) above, or the fixed 36-month period for that individual expires.
(g) An individual who has his or her eligibility terminated due to this provision, but who subsequently files an NJ SNAP application after that termination, shall have that application denied. The individual shall not be certified until he or she either first meets the reinstatement criteria established in (d) above, becomes exempt from the ABAWDS provision, or the 36-month ABAWDS time frame for that individual expires.
(h) There may be situations where an individual received benefits, is subsequently found to have been ineligible for benefits for a particular month(s), and the CWA establishes a claim to recover the month(s) of overissuance. As the claim is repaid for a particular month, that month shall not be treated as a month of receipt for ABAWDS purposes.
(i) An individual is exempt from the ABAWDS provision if he or she is enrolled at least half-time in a school or training program (10:87-10.2(b) 3). Refugee training programs which meet the conditions at 10:87-10.2(b)3 qualify an individual for an ABAWDS exemption.
(j) After the initial four week job search/job training, qualifying work programs for ABAWDS can contain job search as a subsidiary component, but the job search/job search training activity must be less than one half of the requirement. Since the State requires a minimum of 30 hours per week activity, NJ SNAP ETP workers shall ensure that no more than 14 hours of that activity is composed of job search/job training.


N.J. Admin. Code § 10:87-10.20
New Rule, R.1998 d.498, effective 10/5/1998.
See: 30 N.J.R. 1928(a) , 30 N.J.R. 3669(b) .
Recodified from N.J.A.C. 10:87-10.25 and amended by R.2004 d.181, effective 5/17/2004.
See: 36 N.J.R. 28(a) , 36 N.J.R. 2425(a) .
Rewrote the section. Former N.J.A.C. 10:87-10.20 , Failure to comply, recodified to N.J.A.C. 10:87-10.15 .
Administrative change.
See: 44 N.J.R. 1529(a) .
Modified by Executive Order No. 103(2020), effective 4/2/2020.
See: 52 N.J.R. 978(b) .

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