April 1 is an important deadline for some SNAP participants in Multnomah and Washington counties.
New rules for SNAP went into effect this year for people who are “able-bodied adults without dependents” ages 18-49 who live in Multnomah and Washington counties. These individuals are limited to three months of SNAP benefits between Jan. 1, 2016, and Dec. 31, 2018, unless they are exempt from the policy because they are unable to work or are meeting required work activities.
These rules affect people who meet all of these criteria:
- Residents of Multnomah and Washington counties
- Ages 18-49
- Are able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs)
Oregon has had a waiver from this federal policy since the early 2000s because the unemployment rate was higher than the national unemployment rate. Currently the unemployment rate in these two counties is lower than the national unemployment rate, so Oregon was not able to obtain a renewed waiver from these rules in Multnomah and Washington counties.
There are many exemptions from the rules, and many current SNAP participants in these two counties who are ABAWDs may be already in compliance with required work activities. However, many may be unaware there are new requirements in order to receive SNAP beyond three months.
A comprehensive fact sheet can be found at OregonHunger.
The Department of Human Services has sent letters to all current SNAP participants that DHS has identified as ABAWDs to alert them of the new rules and give them an opportunity to contact DHS. However, there are thousands who have not connected with DHS to receive an exemption or report work activities, which means they are in danger of losing their SNAP benefits in April.
Come April 1, these SNAP participants will still have 90 days to make contact with DHS and can have the time limit removed if they were in fact exempt during January through the end of March or were meeting current work activity requirements.
For individuals ages 18-49 who live in Multnomah and Washington counties, without children in their SNAP benefits group, please ask them if they are aware of the new ABAWD rules. If they are not aware of the rules, please ask them to contact DHS. For individuals who have issues connecting with DHS or have further questions about the new ABAWD policy, they can dial 211, email email@example.com or text their zip code to 898211 for further assistance.