Work Requirement

Some FoodShare members must meet a work requirement to maintain FoodShare eligibility. This work requirement is part of the "Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents" policy. It is a federally-mandated policy within the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or FoodShare program. The following is a brief summary of the work requirement for ABAWDs. It is not a comprehensive description. For specific questions on ABAWD policy, please contact an eligibility worker through your Income Maintenance Consortium.


The ABAWD policy is part of the FoodShare program and applies to some FoodShare recipients. It was first enacted with the passage of the PRWORA legislation in 1996. As a national program, states are required to apply time-limited benefit policies for ABAWDs. During the Pandemic, the ABAWD work requirement was waived. It was required under federal rule to be re-implemented by 7/1/2023. Wisconsin has re-implemented this policy. FoodShare members will be notified by their IM worker when they become subject to the ABAWD Work Requirement. 

ABAWD Definition

An ABAWD is a FoodShare member who meets all of the following conditions:

  • Is able to work; 
  • Is not pregnant;
  • Is between the age of 18 and 53 (54 starting 10/01/24);
  • Is not living with a child under age 18 who is part of the same FoodShare household;
  • Is not exempt

    ABAWD Time Limited Benefits

    A FoodShare member who is subject to the work requirement under the ABAWD policy (and does not have an exemption), can continue to receive FoodShare benefits, but is limited to only receiving benefits for three months without meeting the work participation requirement during a 36-month period.


    If a member subject to the work requirement meets the work requirement for a month, that month does not count towards the three month limit.  When a member subject to the work requirement does not meet the work requirement for a month, one of the three time-limited benefit months is recorded.  Once three months have been recorded, the ABAWD-subject member loses FoodShare eligibility until:

    • They meet the work requirement; or
    • They gain an exemption; or
    • They qualify for a three additional month period; or
    • They no longer are classified as an ABAWD subject to the Time Limited Benefits; or
    • The 36-month period expires and a new 36-month period starts

    ABAWD Exemption Reasons

    Many recipients who meet the ABAWD definition can be exempt from the work requirement. The following are the allowable exemptions for the ABAWD work requirement:


    *  Unable to work:

    • Receiving temporary or permanent disability benefits from the government or a private source; or
    • Mentally or physically unable to work, as determined by the IM agency, health care professionals, or social worker.

    *  Homeless (in a temporary housing situation, such as transitional living arrangements and shelters, and includes staying temporarily in another person's residence (up to 90 days).

    *  A veteran (a member who served in the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Armed Forces Reserve) and have been discharged or released under any condition).

    *  Former Foster Care youth aged 18 to 24 who were formerly in foster care, kinship care, subsidized guardianship or adoption assistance at the time when they turned 18 years old. 

    *  Primary caretaker of a child under age six (6).

    *  Primary caretaker of a person who can't take care of themselves.

    *   Has applied for or is receiving unemployment compensation;

    *  Regularly participating in an alcohol or other drug addiction (AODA) treatment or rehabilitation program (AA or other support groups are not treatment or rehabilitation programs).

    *  A person who is enrolled at least half-time in any recognized school, training program, or institution of higher education. A GED/HSED program does not qualify. 

    *  Working 30 hours per week or earning wages equivalent of 30 hours or more per week at the federal minimum wage (i.e. $217.50 or more per week).

    *  Complying with the Wisconsin Works (W-2) program requirements.


    Only a FoodShare eligibility worker can determine and approve an exemption.  If you believe you meet one of the exemptions reasons listed, you can call your IM Consortium's Call Center, or report a change through ACCESS (, mail or fax.

    Capital IM: 1-888-794-5556

    (Adams County)


    IM Central: 1-888-445-1621

    (Langlade, Marathon, Oneida, Portage counties)


    Northern IM: 1-888-794-5722

    (Forest, Lincoln, Vilas, Wood counties)


    We can help you to report an exemption claim but the FSET program cannot determine or approve an exemption for you.

    Even if you meet an exemption, you can still volunteer to receive services in the FSET program.

    ABAWD Work Requirements

    If you are subject to the FoodShare Work Requirement, you can meet this requirement one of the following ways:

    • Working at least 80 hours per month;
    • Taking part in an allowable work program at least 80 hours a month;
    • Both working and taking part in an allowable work program for a total of at least 80 hours per month; or
    • Completing a Workfare FSET work experience activity. 


    You can enroll in the FSET program as one way to meet your work requirements and maintain your FoodShare eligibility.  If you enroll and participate in the FSET program, FSET can provide assistance with job search, training options as well as support services including gas cards, bus passes, and work-related clothing.

    Work Includes

    • Work in exchange for money;
    • Work in exchange for goods or services (in-kind);
    • Unpaid work (i.e. volunteer work, community service, etc.)
    • Self-employment at any wage; or
    • Any combination of the above. 

    Allowable Work Programs

    • Children First
    • FSET
    • Programs under Section 236 of the Trad Act of 1974 (such as the dislocated worker program)
    • Refugee Cash Assistance or Refugee Employment & Training Programs
    • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)
    • Wisconsin Works (W-2)


    FSET is always a voluntary program. If you are not meeting the FoodShare Work Requirement, you are automatically referred to FSET. FSET has many options for you to work towards your employment goals, while helping you meet the work requirement. 

    FSET Activities

    FSET has many activities to support your employment goal(s) and help you meet the work requirement. 

    Job Search cannot be your only FSET activity to meet the 80-hour per month work requirement. Job Search activity can only make up less than half of your 80 monthly hours (so no more than 39 of the 80 monthly hours). 

    Individuals who need to meet the work requirement need to complete 80 hours of activity each month, unless they are doing Workfare work experience. 

    Activities in FSET that count towards the 80 hours include:

    • Job Search & Job Search Skills (39 hours or less). This includes providing job leads,  helping with resume development and application processing, interview skills and connection to Employer Partners.
    • Job Skills Training & Certificate programs including CDL, CNA, and other short-term trainings and certifications.
    • Degreed programs (2 years or less). FSET cannot fund financial-aid eligible programs, but can support individuals in those programs.
    • GED/HSED
    • Literacy skills including English-as-a-Second-Language and basic literacy skills.
    • Drivers's Education including driver's permit and full driver's license.
    • Career Planning including informal and formal career and interest assessments.
    • Workshops and Job Readiness activities
    • Working


    Workfare is an unpaid FSET work experience activity. The required monthly hours for Workfare are calculated by dividing your total FoodShare monthly benefits by $7.25. 

    So, if a person receives $250 in FoodShare a month, the work requirement can be met by completing only 34 hours of Workfare in a month ($250 divided by $7.25). 

    A work experience placement can be made at a government or non-profit agency. The work experience through Workfare provides individuals with basic work skills, specific job skill development and a quality local reference. 

    We have worksites developed in every county in our nine-county region offering a variety of experiences including clerical, custodian, maintenance and retail settings.

    Individuals in FSET can choose to do either Workfare or the 80 hours of other activities in the program. Individuals can switch between warfare and other activities while in FSET.

    Good Cause

    Tell your worker if you have Good Cause (allowable) Reasons for missing FSET activity including:

    • Illness
    • Illness of another household member serious enough to require your presence
    • Unavailability of transportation
    • Unanticipated emergency
    • Employment or work program placement is no longer suitable if termination from a job or work program was outside of your control.
    • Disenrolled and re-enrolled in FSET in the same month 

    *Note: only a maximum of 40 hours of good cause can be granted a month

    Address: Wood County Human Services - River Block

    111 W. Jackson St., 2nd Floor, Wisconsin Rapids WI 54495  

    Phone: +1 (715) 421-8608 8


    Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software