68. Work programs for people subject to ABAWD requirements
The three-month cut off does not apply to people who work 20 hours a week or more. This can include working “in kind” or in exchange for something tangible like a place to live or clothing [MPP §63-410.211(b)], or participating in Food Stamp Employment and Training (FSET) programs or other acceptable training programs for 20 hours a week, or participating in workfare for the required number of hours. [7 C.F.R. § 273.24 (a)(1); MPP § 63-410.212-213.]
The FSET program is run by the county but must comply with state requirements. [MPP §§ 63-407.8, 410.213 (c).] Workfare or employment training programs linked to county general assistance (GA) programs also qualify as food stamp employment. [7 C.F.R. § 273.7(m)(8)-(9); MPP § 63-410.212.] General Assistance (GA) programs usually include working in exchange for food stamps, but can also include training as well as other services (e.g., domestic violence counseling, job search services, etc.)
Workfare program participants do not necessarily need to do 20 hours a week. They only need to do the number of hours required when their food stamp amount is divided by the minimum wage. [7 C.F.R. § 273.24 (a)(4).] Job search can be counted as an activity in certain workfare programs. [MPP § 63-410.212, 407.841(b)(I)(A).]
Other acceptable training programs include programs offered through the Workforce Investment Act Centers, including Trade Adjustment Act programs or Employment Development Department (EDD) training programs. [MPP § 63-410.213(a)-(b).] In addition, Refugee Employment Programs count as “work” activities. [MPP § 63-410.213(c).] But note that hours spent in job search in these “other acceptable” programs do not count towards the 20 hours. [MPP § 63-410.213(c )(1).] This provision appears to be inconsistent with federal law which says these job search hours cannot count only if they are more than half the hours.
Participating in a job search or a job readiness program will not enable an ABAWD to keep getting food stamps, unless the program is operated under Title I of the Workforce Investment Act or section 236 of the Trade Act. [7 C.F.R. § 273.7(e)(1)(i), (ii).] But job search and job readiness may be part of other education and training program components, as long as they are done for less than half of that component’s time. [7 C.F.R. § 273.7(e)(1); MPP § 63-410.213(d)(i).] If an ABAWD is enrolled in one of these other employment-and-training program components for 20 hours a week, he or she may keep her food stamps as long as he or she is doing job search or job readiness activities for less than ten hours per week. [7 C.F.R. § 273.7(e)(1).]