March 28, 2016

March 28, 2016

Some Multnomah and Washington county residents who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits may soon lose those benefits if they do not meet certain federal work-related requirements.

According to the Oregon Department of Human Services, about 5,166 Multnomah County residents, who rely on SNAP, will lose benefits on April 1 unless they meet the requirements for an exemption. Recipients between the ages of 18 and 50 who have no dependents -- known as an Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) -- must participate in qualifying employment and training activities to maintain SNAP eligibility. Oregon has received a waiver for that rule since 2002, but Multnomah and Washington counties were excluded from the waiver beginning on Jan. 1.

People who match the definition of ABAWD now can receive SNAP benefits for only three months in a three-year period. Because the rule went into effect January 1, thousands of people are currently at risk of losing food stamp eligibility on April 1.

Exemptions for ABAWDs include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical or mental health conditions that prevent a person from working 20 hours a week.

  • Chronic homelessness, which can mean having been homeless for more than six months; having been homeless more than once in the last year; or being unable to meet the basic necessities of everyday life.

Multnomah County SNAP recipients who need additional information and are trying to determine if they are at risk of losing their benefits are urged to call a DHS caseworker at 971-673-2422 or 971-673-2333.

For more detailed information about the SNAP time limits please see the graphic below, which can also be downloaded and printed for public use. Additional information also can be found in this full FAQ provided by the Oregon Department of Human Services. Additionally, Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon has an excellent roundup of online resources in multiple languages for SNAP recipients facing a stoppage of benefits.