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Unwinding the Public Health Emergency: How to Prepare for the Hunger Cliff

At the onset of the Federal Covid-19 Public Health Emergency, a variety of flexibilities became available to help states to adapt to the changing environment. Flexibilities included temporary exemptions for college students, and the suspension of the ABAWD work requirement. During this time, many college students who were previously not eligible for SNAP were able to receive SNAP. ABAWDs or Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents who are normally subject to work requirements in order to receive their SNAP benefits for longer than a 3-month period were waived of the work requirements. These waivers and exemptions offered much-needed relief for many SNAP families as the effects of the pandemic continued to cause damage to our economy and communities.

On May 11th, these pandemic-era flexibilities ceased. College students will notice changes starting to take effect on June 10, 2023 and some may even lose their benefits on or after this date as they may no longer be eligible for SNAP. Some ABAWDs will also potentially lose their SNAP benefits as pre-pandemic time limits and work requirements will come back into play around July 2023, unless they meet other exemptions. ABAWD exemptions include being under the age of 18, over the age of 50, mentally or physically unfit for employment, responsible for a dependent child under 18, or pregnant. We believe it’s important to update our neighbors so they can be prepared for the changes that may affect their ability to put food on the table.

If you or someone you may know are interested in learning more about these changes or want to see if you’re eligible for SNAP, our SNAP Outreach team is happy to help! Reach out to us at or call our SNAP assistance line at 615-310-0752.

This project has been partially funded by the USDA and under an agreement with the State of Tennessee. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. The contents of the publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

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