The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) is reminding Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD) in 36 counties of a work or educational requirement to continue receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
This federal requirement, which aligns with House Bill 4001 passed by the West Virginia Legislature in 2018, will go into effect January 1, 2020, in Barbour, Berkeley, Boone, Brooke, Cabell, Doddridge, Grant, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Harrison, Jefferson, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lewis, Marion, Marshall, Mercer, Mineral, Monongalia, Monroe, Morgan, Ohio, Pendleton, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Randolph, Ritchie, Summers, Taylor, Tucker, Upshur, Wayne, and Wood counties.
“The goal of this policy is to provide needed employment and training opportunities for those defined as an ABAWD in the identified counties,” said Linda Watts, Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Children and Families. “The counties selected for this program have the lowest unemployment rates in West Virginia, which indicates an economic environment conducive to workforce re-entry.”
In order to maintain SNAP benefit eligibility, recipients in the selected counties, age 18 but not yet 50 years old, who have no dependent children, must either qualify for an exemption or consistently participate in a work or educational activity for a monthly average of 20 hours per week. A participant’s failure to meet the work or educational activity requirements will result in a loss of SNAP benefits.
SNAP recipients in these counties will be exempted from the work or educational activity requirement if they meet one of the following exemptions: receiving SNAP benefits with an individual under the age of 18; working 30 hours per week or earning $217.50 per week; receiving unemployment compensation; regularly participating in a drug addiction or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation program; responsible for caring for an incapacitated adult; medically certified as unfit for work; receiving veteran disability income; or currently at least a half-time student.
DHHR is partnering with WorkForce West Virginia to offer the SNAP Employment and Training Program to assist SNAP recipients who must meet the work requirement. To accommodate these individuals, DHHR will collaborate with WorkForce Development Boards to help with placement in an educational activity, a work-related program to prepare for employment, or to gain employment