PRESS RELEASE: GBPI Releases Statement on Non-Renewal of SNAP Waivers for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents
ATLANTA, GEORGIA — Today, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI) released a statement in response to the potential loss of SNAP benefits for adults without disabilities and not living with children (technically known as able-bodied adults without dependents or ABAWDs). A policy under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) takes food assistance away from adults aged 18 to 49 if they do not work 20 hours a week or enroll in a training program. If an adult without a disability and without children in the home does not meet these requirements for three months, they lose SNAP eligibility for three years.
During the public health emergency (PHE), the federal government suspended this policy, but the policy went back into effect on July 1, 2023. For years before the PHE, the state consistently requested waivers from the federal government that grant a temporary exemption from the work requirements for either the whole state or certain regions that struggle with persistently high unemployment or have experienced an economic downturn.
State leaders have decided not to request this state option, reversing a years-long precedent.
Statement from GBPI President and CEO Staci Fox:
“The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is an effective federal benefit that helps unemployed and underemployed Georgians put food on the table and supports their economic security. Unfortunately, Georgia is foregoing a state option that would have protected many non-disabled adults who do not live with children from losing food assistance. Furthermore, positioning DFCS eligibility workers to take on additional tasks during Medicaid Unwinding is not only irresponsible but puts even more stress on a workforce that has been overstretched and under-resourced for years. Until federal legislators end these ineffective and burdensome requirements attached to SNAP, the state should take the available options to limit harm. Georgia should return to its years-long position of requesting waivers that support communities and alleviate the administrative burden on the agency that supports SNAP clients.”
Adults who struggle to find work, cannot get enough hours, or find an approved training program in their area could potentially lose SNAP during a time of rising living and food costs Furthermore, the lack of a full or partial waiver adds more work to the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) eligibility caseworkers who are overburdened with the massive Medicaid and PeachCare unwinding, the launch of Pathways to Coverage, and normal operations of other public benefits.
GBPI has consistently put a spotlight on legislators’ long-term disinvestment in Georgia’s state government workforce and continues to call for meaningful investment and support of state workers.
The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI) strives to be an anti-racist research and advocacy organization that advances lasting solutions to expand economic opportunity and well-being for all Georgians. We examine the state’s budget, taxes and public policies to provide thoughtful analysis and responsible solutions that address inequities in our state. We educate the public about complex issues confronting Georgia. We activate Georgians to call for policy solutions that put people first. We aim to inspire informed debate and decision-making, advancing our vision of a fair and inclusive Georgia where everyone can prosper.