2016 Changes to SNAP Benefits

Authored By: Florida Legal Services


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is one of the largest and most critical anti-hunger programs in the State of Florida. In 2014-2015, approximately 2,029,951 families in Florida were served by the SNAP program. But beginning in January 2016, the SNAP benefits of at least 563,507 Floridians will be at risk. This is because, on January 1, 2016, Florida will implement new time limits for Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDs). ABAWDs are adults ages 18 through 49 who 1) are not working or in a job training program at least 20 hours a week; 2) are not physically and mentally unable to work; and, 3) are not responsible for a dependent child in the household. Even though Florida's high unemployment rate qualifies it to waive time limits in many areas of the state, the Florida Legislature passed legislation in the 2015 special session that prohibits DCF from seeking those waivers without the Legislature's permission, which it has not given. Most at risk are Floridians who already have limited job opportunities, such as the homeless and persons with limited education, language barriers, or criminal histories.