Able-bodied adults without dependents


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With the passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act in June, the federal government has changed the work requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients who are considered able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs). The main change is the modification of the age range of individuals who are considered ABAWDs. Effective Oct. 1, 2023, individuals between the ages of 18 and 52 who are considered ABAWDs are subject to additional work requirements and time limits. This page is a resource for understanding how this change affects SNAP eligibility and work requirements for ABAWDs in Colorado.

Frequently asked questions

Expand the sections below for answers to FAQs about the changes to ABAWD rules.

Who is considered an ABAWD?

ABAWDs are people who are:

  • Between the ages of 18 and 52;
  • Not disabled; and
  • Not living with a child under the age of 18.
Who is not affected by this change?

Individuals who are under 18 or over 52 are not affected, as are some individuals who are exempt from ABAWD rules, including those who are:

  • Physically or mentally unable to be employed;
  • Pregnant;
  • Veterans;
  • Experiencing homelessness;
  • Aged 24 and younger who were in foster care on their 18th birthday; or
  • Participating in certain educational or vocational training programs
What must an ABAWD do?

In order to maintain SNAP eligibility, ABAWDs must participate in a work activity 20 hours a week (80 hours a month). ABAWDs can only receive SNAP benefits for more than three months within a three-year period — known as the time limit — if they meet the work requirement or are otherwise exempt.

How exactly does the time limit work?

ABAWD individuals can receive SNAP benefits for a maximum of three months within a 36-month period, also known as the time limit. These months do not need to be consecutive. Once the time limit is exhausted, ABAWDs must meet the monthly work requirement to continue receiving benefits.

How do ABAWDs meet the work requirement?

ABAWD individuals must participate in a work activity 20 hours a week (or an average of 80 hours a month). This can include paid work, unpaid work (volunteer), participation in Colorado Employment First, or participation in another employment and training program.

If you are working, your paystubs will verify if you are meeting this work requirement. If you are participating in Employment First, your Employment First case manager will provide verification of your hours. If you are participating in another type of employment and training program you will need to work with your case manager to provide verification of your participation. 

If you are participating in unpaid work (volunteer work), you can use the ABAWD Volunteer Verification Form to report and verify your volunteer work. This is only required to be submitted one time during your SNAP certification period. 

What is the definition of being physically or mentally unfit for employment?

Examples of being physically or mentally unfit for employment can include but are not limited to:

  • Homelessness
  • Recently released from an institution 
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Individuals with a history of being unable to maintain employment
  • Domestic violence
What is the purpose of SNAP work requirements?

The intent of work requirements is to promote SNAP recipients to self-sufficiency through the dignity of work.