§9-8-2. Work requirements.
(a) All able bodied adults may receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance benefits for only three months in each 36-month period. Recipients are exempt from the time limit if they are employed or are participating and complying with the requirements of a work, education, or volunteer program for at least 20 hours per week: Provided, That further exemptions may apply and shall be determined in accordance with federal law: Provided, however, That any such exemptions shall not exceed those granted by federal law.
(b) Beginning October 1, 2018, the department shall discontinue and shall not seek federal waivers granted pursuant to 7 U.S.C. § 2015(o) for Able Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD) for any county that cannot be demonstrated to have, through data in conformance with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics methodology set forth under federal law, a recent 12-month average unemployment rate above 10 percent; a recent 24-month average unemployment rate 20 percent above the national average for the same 24-month period; qualification for extended unemployment benefits; or designation as a “labor surplus area” by the U.S. Department of Labor. These waivers exempt able bodied adults with no children from work requirements for receipt of SNAP benefits. Notwithstanding any provision in this code to the contrary, all counties shall be ineligible for any such waiver effective October 1, 2022.
(c) The department shall submit a report to the Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Resources Accountability, no later than October 1, 2020, on the employment impact of ABAWD requirements in those counties where they were implemented as of October 1, 2018. The report shall include, on a county-by-county basis, information on the number of SNAP recipients subject to work requirements; the number exempted from work requirements and the reasons for exemption; the number of applicants denied benefits due to non-compliance with work requirements; the dollar amount of benefits withheld due to non-compliance; the estimated fiscal impact on SNAP retailers of withholding those benefits; the number of recipients who engaged in work, education, or volunteerism in order to maintain benefits; the efforts made to assist recipients with meeting work requirements in order to maintain benefits; and any such recommendations pertaining to work requirements as the department deems advisable.
(d) If a recipient resides in a county subject to the provisions of this article, an applicant shall be deemed as complying with the requirements of a work, education, or volunteer program if any of the following requirements are satisfied:
(1) Working at least 20 hours per week, averaged monthly, or 80 hours a month;
(2) Participating in, and complying with, the requirements of a work force training program of 20 hours per week, as determined by the department in rule;
(3) Volunteering 20 hours a week, as determined by the department in rule;
(4) Any combination of working, volunteering and/or participating in a work program for a total of 20 hours per week, as determined by the department in legislative rule; or
(5) Participating in, and complying with, a workfare program as set out in 7 C.F.R. 273.24(a)(3).
(e) As determined by the department, if a recipient would have worked an average of 20 hours per week but missed some work for good cause, the recipient shall be considered to have met the work requirement if the absence from work is temporary and the recipient retains his or her job. Good cause includes circumstances beyond the household’s control, such as, but not limited to, illness, illness of another household member requiring the presence of the member, a household emergency, natural disaster, a declared state of emergency due to inclement weather, or the unavailability of transportation.
(f) If the department determines that a waiver, or an amendment to a waiver, is necessary to implement a policy that complies with 7 C.F.R. 273.24, it shall request the waiver or the amendment to the waiver from the United States Department of Agriculture.
(g) The department shall propose legislative rules in accordance with the provisions of this code for a plan for implementation of the requirements set forth in this section in counties that are subject to the requirements set forth in §9-8-2 (d) of this code.