MMLA Co-Chairs Help Guide New Policies Benefiting Vulnerable Adults
More than 48,000 lost their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits beginning in February, 2014, because Minnesota reinstituted time limits and mandatory work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) following expiration of its federal waiver. Concerned community advocates requested that DHS form a taskforce to review and improve ABAWD policies and practices. The ABAWD taskforce, formed in February 2015, was co-chaired by Kathleen Davis and Barbara Kuhn of Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid and Colleen Moriarity of Hunger Solutions and included representatives from the Department of Human Services, Department of Employment and Economic Development, community-based service providers, community advocates and philanthropists.
Following the recommendations of the taskforce, the state has implemented several changes to the "fitness to work" criteria which enables people to prove they are unable to work, and thus exempt from the time limits and work requirements. The state also adopted a policy that allows people who have used up their three months of SNAP to reapply and receive three additional months, if they demonstrate some progress towards addressing their barriers to work. This policy is in effect now and advocates should spread the word that ABAWD people who lost SNAP since February 2014 should go to their local county office and reapply (see DHS Bulletin #15-01-01). For the complete list of recommendations, see the Taskforce Recommendations report, and for a general legal summary of changes, click here.