November 08, 2018
On October 10, 2018, LAWV and Catholic Charities of WV held a SNAP Community Education Meeting at the public library in Kingwood to help inform area community social agencies, churches, and food banks on the new ABAWD (Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents)
rules that will impact SNAP-eligible persons in Preston County. The county is one of nine new counties in the state in which the West Virginia DHHR is lifting the prior waiver of the ABAWD rules. At least 10 representatives from various area agencies and churches attended the meeting. Benita Whitman, LAWV Staff Attorney, and Cathy Townsend-Estep, Administrative Law Paralegal, jointly presented an overview of the new rules, which generally require able-bodied adults without dependents to participate in a work requirement to remain eligible for SNAP benefits. Cathy and Benita discussed various exemptions under the rules, including exemptions for households with children, persons 50 or older, pregnant mothers, persons physically or mentally unfit for employment, persons in drug and alcohol treatment programs, and others. Cathy and Benita also discussed the work requirements, which may include job searching, technical education, vocational training, and community service, and discussed ways in which advocacy on behalf of SNAP ABAWD recipients can serve to maximize work and training opportunities that are available. Attendees shared their own observations and experiences in their respective work and were encouraged to refer persons affected by the ABAWD rules to contact LAWV for help.