The SNAP Challenge part 3


ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – 18 News wanted to see if a reporter would be able to stay under the SNAP budget of a single adult with no dependents, which is $194 a month according to the USDA website.

With the upcoming changes in April, The SNAP Challenge was launched. The first week broke down what’s to come in April for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs), and the second week entailed following two SNAP receivers for a typical grocery trip.

Now, 18 News was curious to see if one of our reporters, would be eligible for SNAP benefits. So I went to Mary Laurey, the SNAP Outreach Coordinator from the Southern Tier Foodbanks, and I learned that the most a single individual could be eligible for was $194 of SNAP benefits a month.

Just a reminder, that budget can only go towards but is not limited to:

  • Breads and cereals
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meats, fish and poultry
  • Dairy products
  • Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat

Therefore excluding hot foods already prepared and many other necessities. It also excludes non-food items:

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
  • Food that will be eaten in the store
  • Hot foods
  • Any nonfood items, such as:
    • Pet foods
    • Soaps, paper products
    • Household supplies
    • Vitamins and medicines

With a budget of $194, I would most definitely stay under the budget. I spent only $37.75 on groceries from Feb. 13 through Mar. 12.

However, it’s a different story when it came down to eating out. During the same time period, I spent $134.94 on hot foods to-go or eaten in restaurants.

Overall, I would still be able to stay under the budget of $172.69. That being said, with my reporter’s salary, I would not be eligible for SNAP Benefits.

When I sat down with Mary, she ran down the factors taken into account when signing up for or seeing if one is qualified for SNAP Benefits.

Those factors they took a look at are:

  • Household size
  • Income
  • Allowable expenses being paid out but are not limited to:
    • Shelter
    • Utilities
    • Medical
    • Childcare/child support

With all my information, Mary determined that I would not qualify for SNAP.

That being said, there are “ABAWD”s, 3,330 people in the Southern Tier to be exact, that will be affected by the upcoming rule in April if they are unable to reach 20 hours a week of volunteering or work.

Adults that:

  • Are between the ages of 18 and 49
  • Have no children
  • Have no disabilities
  • Work or volunteer less than 20 hours a week totaling 80 hours a month

Are the ones that will be affected by the new “ABAWD” time rule.

Unless they:

  • Live in waived sections of the States
  • Qualify for exemptions (stated above)

“ABAWD”s will only receive three months of SNAP benefits for a three year period with the new rule.

Stay tuned with 18 News for the final web-exclusive SNAP Challenge part 4 to see where “ABAWD”s can turn to for help after those three months if unable to work or volunteer for 20 hours a week.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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