Food Stamp Program Work Requirements

Food stamp recipients, who are ages 16-59 and who do not meet a work registration exemption, must register for work. 

  • Work registrants are required to register for work and comply with the following work requirements
    • Register for work at the time of application and every 12 months thereafter;
    • Provide sufficient information for the agency to determine the employment status or job availability of the individual;
    • Accept an offer of employment paying at least the minimum wage at a site or plant not subject to strike or lockout at the time of offer;
    • Report to an employer if the employment meets the requirements for suitable employment;
    • Continue employment without voluntarily quitting or voluntarily reducing work hours below 30 hours per week. 
  • Reporting requirements

    All food stamp households are required to report when their gross monthly income exceeds 130% of the Federal Poverty Limit for the household size. If you are a single working adult between the ages of 18-49 with no children, you must report when your work hours fall below 20 hours a week, averaged 80 hours per month within 10 days from the end of the month in which the change occurred.

  • Failure to Comply with Food Stamp work requirements

    Work registrants who fail, without good cause, or refuse to cooperate with food stamp work requirements are sanctioned. Sanctioned means that the work registrant who failed or refused to cooperate cannot receive benefits. Even though the sanctioned work registrant does not receive benefits, his/her resources and income may be counted to determine eligibility and the benefit amount for family members who may continue to receive benefits.  Note: Volunteers are not subject to sanction.

    If a sanction is applied, the sanctioned work registrant is not included in the food stamp benefits for the minimum period or until compliance, whichever is longer. After the minimum sanction period has been served, the sanctioned individual may contact the worker to make arrangements to comply with the requirements.

    A sanction remains in place until compliance, except for voluntarily quitting a job or reducing work hours sanctions. Sanctions for voluntary quit and reduction of your hours are imposed only for the appropriate minimum periods. If it is determined that there was good cause for failure to comply, a sanction is not applied.

    The minimum sanction periods are as follows:

    • 1st failure or refusal to comply — 1 month or until compliance, whichever is longer
    • 2nd failure or refusal to comply — 3 months or until compliance, whichever is longer
    • 3rd & subsequent failures or refusals to comply — 6 months or until compliance, whichever is longer.

If you are an able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD) you may have additional work requirements to remain food stamp eligible. To learn more, click here.

If you need assistance with finding employment, we may be able to help. To learn more, click here.