Important Information for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs)

*ABAWDS are able-bodied individuals between the ages of 18 and 50 who have no dependents living with them.

The federal work requirements for ABAWDs went into effect on January 1, 2016 in Massachusetts. Able-bodied individuals may only receive SNAP benefits for up to three months within 36 months without meeting the work requirements.

NOTE: The ABAWD Work Rules are suspended until further notice due to the public health emergency.

How does an able-bodied individual meet the work requirements?

There are three ways an individual can meet the work requirements:

  • Work 20 hours per week in unsubsidized employment, averaged monthly. 
  • Participate 20 hours per week in an approved training program, averaged monthly.
  • Participate in “work for benefits” by volunteering at a nonprofit organization.

To find an approved training program offered through the SNAP Path to Work program, use the Find a Provider feature on this website to locate organizations that offer qualifying education and training activities. Activities that meet the ABAWD Work Program requirement are flagged with the following symbol:

Possibly Meets the ABAWD Work Requirement.


You can also search non-profit and public organizations that may be able to host you as a volunteer by selecting Potential ABAWD Volunteer Site as the Location Type on the Find a Provider tab.

If you would like to volunteer or participate in training at a site that is not found on this website, please call 1-888-483-0255 to have the site approved by a SNAP Path to Work specialist before you start.

An individual is exempt from meeting the work requirement if he or she:

  • Is under age 18.
  • Is age 50 or older.
  • Works 30 or more hours per week or is earning more than $217.50 per week, averaged monthly.
  • Is medically certified as physically or mentally unfit for employment. (Note: An ABAWD Work Program Requirement Medical Report form completed by a competent medical authority or other proof of illness or disability must be provided.)
  • Is an unemployment applicant or recipient.
  • Participates in a drug or alcohol treatment and rehab program.
  • Is a student enrolled at least half-time in a recognized school or training program.
  • Cares for an incapacitated person or child under age 6.
  • Is pregnant.
  • Lives in a waived area. For a list of waived areas, visit
  • Lives with any minor in the home and in the SNAP household (does not have to be your own child).
  • Does not have a stable nighttime residence.
  • Is participating in a federally recognized refugee training program.
  • Is complying with TAFDC/EAEDC work program requirements.
  • Is participating in a Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission or other Massachusetts-approved vocational rehabilitation programs.

If you have more questions or think you should be exempt from meeting the work requirements, please call 877-382-2363.