SNAP recipients who are age 18 through 49 who are able to work, but not working 80 hours a month, and have no minor-age children in their SNAP household are known as Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDS).

The following is more information for and about ABAWDs, including commonly asked questions and helpful resources. 

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ABAWD Waiver Changes Due to COVID-19

As of April 1, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act lifted the three-month time limit for ABAWDs throughout the entire State of Rhode Island. The suspension of the time limit begins will continue through the end of the month subsequent to the month in which the public health emergency declaration by the Secretary of Health and Human Services based on an outbreak of COVID-19 is lifted. 

ABAWD Statewide Exemption in Rhode Island

Rhode Island has been granted a statewide exemption from the ABAWD rules. This means that no ABAWD in Rhode Island will be subject to the 3-month time limit. The statewide exemption is in place through July 31, 2022.

ABAWD Questions and Resources

  • SNAP recipients age 18-49, and
  • who are able to work
  • have no dependents
  • SNAP recipients under age 18 or over age 49, or
  • Have dependents (children under age 18) in their SNAP household
  • Individuals exempt from work registration, including persons:
    • With disability (temporary or permanent); or
    • Who are caretakers of a child age 6 or younger, or an incapacitated person of any age; or
    • Participating in RI Works; or
    • Receiving or having applied for Unemployment Insurance; or
    • Participating in a drug or alcohol treatment program; or
    • Employed at least 30 hours a week; or
    • Enrolled in an institute of higher education at least half time

No. If a SNAP recipient is not an ABAWD, they do not have a time limit. Non-ABAWDs typically receive SNAP for 12 months at a time and can maintain SNAP benefits if they complete necessary interim and recertification requirements and remain eligible for SNAP.


  • There are people at DHS and in the community who can help you with this process.
  • You may contact DHS to discuss work activities and unfit for work.
  • If you are interested in SNAP Employment and Training, you can learn more at SNAP E & T.
  • If you are interested in finding a job or Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program, you can learn more by going to the many Workforce Development services offered by the RI Labor and Training.
  • Our community partners are ready to help should you want their assistance. They include our SNAP Outreach vendors, agencies who help those who face homelessness, United Way 211 and Community Action Program (CAP) agencies. A Community Partner form is below to help and you can find contact info for some of the partners in our Local Resources page.

The ABAWD Work Exemption form below can help determine if you might be eligible for an exemption. It also lists the documentation you need to provide to DHS to make you exempt.

You can submit your exemption verification documents by uploading it to the online Customer Portal (resources to help you with the portal can be found here), by putting it in our secure drop boxes in from of all of our offices or by mailing it to DHS, PO Box 8709, Cranston, RI 02920. 

Available Forms

ABAWD Work Exemption Form

Community Partner Unfit for Work Form

ABAWD Medical Verification Form

Want to Appeal? 

Appeals information can be found here