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Great news! SNAP Rules Update--Court Stops ABAWD Area Waiver Change

GREAT news to start our week - over the weekend, the DC District court struck down USDA's final rule gutting the options states had to waive the ABAWD time limit in areas with elevated rates of unemployment. The importance of this decision is reinforced by the reality of the pandemic - when many Americans are facing job losses, food insecurity, and vast uncertaintly about the future. 
The judge wrote a scathing opinion (see below FRAC eblast for link to the decision) - stating "The Final Rule at issue in this litigation radically and abruptly alters decades of regulatory practice, leaving States scrambling and exponentially increasing food insecurity for tens of thousands of Americans."
This decision means that USDA cannot implement their final rule! This protects hundreds of thousands - possibly millions - across the country from losing SNAP. Yay!
MLRI submitted a declaration as part of the lawsuit and contributed to an amicus brief from three legal aid organizations. We are thrilled with this result! 
We wanted to share a few THANK YOUs regarding this litigation:
  • Thank you to all of you who submitted comments opposing the proposed rule way back in April 2019. The judge repeatedly referenced comments that were filed - and the comments filed were a core piece of why the judge struck down the rule! We know that at least 30 Coalition members submitted in depth comments - and we are sure there were more of you. Thank you - your comments made a differerence!
  • Thank you to the MA Attorney General's Office & AG Maura Healey for her office's steadfast support of SNAP and filing ltiigation in opposition to this rule in partnership with 14 other AGOs and NYC!
  • Thank you to DTA for opposing the final rule and submitting a declaration in the lawsuit explaining why this rule would have harmed Massachusetts residents. 
  • Thank you to our national partners FRAC, Feeding America, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and the Center for American Progress for their leadership on this issue. 
Last but not least, a few reminders about the ABAWD time limit:
  1. The time limit is suspended due to the pandemic - no one should be denied SNAP due to the work rules, they are not in effect right now!! See the MLRI google doc for fliers in English and Spanish. 
  2. Seperate from this federal lawsuit, last week over 25,000 MA households were sent a Notice of Settlement as a result of the ABAWD litigation filed by MLRI. Please direct folks who have questions about this notice to Vicky Negus. For more information, click here. 

You played an important role with FRAC, Feeding America, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Center for American Progress, and colleague groups across the country in generating more than 100,000 comments against USDA’s proposed rule to change area criteria for waivers of the SNAP time limit. We are pleased to report that the court has issued a summary judgment order that prevents that Final Rule from being implemented.

Explore the court memorandum and order. Read the Washington Post story reporting on this development.

The proposed rules on SNAP Categorical Eligibility and on the SNAP Standard Utility Allowance have not yet been issued in final.

As always, we look forward to collaborating with you on further efforts to protect and strengthen SNAP.

Click-to-tweet: Good news! A fed judge struck down a Trump admin rule that would have cut SNAP benefits for 700,000 people. The rule “radically & abruptly alters decades of regulatory practice, leaving States scrambling & exponentially increasing #foodinsecurity”


About Us

FRAC is the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States. Visit our Website ( to learn more. 

Contact Us

Food Research & Action Center
1200 18th Street, NW Suite 400
Washington, District of Columbia 20036
(202) 986-2200


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