Important Update: The age limit for SNAP ABAWDs is changing on Sept. 1, 2023, and Oct. 1, 2023, to include customers up to ages 50 and 52, respectively. More information is available in the August notice below.

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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New SNAP Time Limit Rules And Exemptions Beginning September 1, 2023

Beginning Sept. 1, 2023, there will be several changes to SNAP ABAWD rules. Specifically, the age to be considered an ABAWD will expand to include people ages 18-50 on September 1, 2023, and will change again on Oct.1, 2023, to include individuals up to age 52. Additional changes occurring Sept. 1, 2023, include the expansion of certain groups to exempt status (veterans, adults up to age 24 who left foster care at age 18, and individuals experiencing homelessness).

Importantly, the ABAWD clock will reset on Sept. 1, 2023, for a three-year period through Aug. 31, 2026, essentially restarting the three-month time limit for ABAWDs.

More information is available in the Notices below:

ABAWD Time Limit Rules Begin Again July 1, 2023

Since April 1, 2020, the federal government suspended the three-month time limit rule for ABAWDs in response to COVID-19. With the federal COVID-19 public health emergency officially ending on May 11, 2023, the three-month rule for ABAWDS is being reinstated beginning July 1, 2023. Notices were sent to all households impacted by the change, which can be found below in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

ABAWD Questions and Resources

  • SNAP recipients age 18-50 (beginning Sept.1, 2023), and
    • On October 1, 2023, it is up to age 52
  • Individuals who are able to work and 
  • have no dependents
  • SNAP recipients under age 18 or over age 50 beginning Sept. 1, 2023/over age 52 beginning Oct. 1, 2023, 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; or 
    • Veterans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard); or
    • Individuals experiencing homelessness, or person who otherwise lacks a fixed primary residence; or 
    • Individuals who are age 18-24 and were in foster care when they turned 18 years of age

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. 

Want to Appeal? 

Appeals information can be found here

Available Forms

ABAWD Work Exemption Form

Community Partner Unfit for Work Form

ABAWD Medical Verification Form