Food Stamp Program:

Implementation of the Employment and Training Program for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents

GAO-01-391R: Published: Feb 27, 2001. Publicly Released: Feb 27, 2001.

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Robert A. Robinson
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Recent legislation increased funding for food stamp employment and training programs from fiscal year 1998 through fiscal year 2002, when the Food Stamp Program is scheduled to be reauthorized. To qualify for these additional federal funds, states must maintain their state-funded expenditures for employment and training at a level no lower than in fiscal year 1996; these additional funds are referred to as maintenance-of-efforts funds. The act requires that at least 80 percent of all employment and training funds be spent on able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD). The law also gives the states the option to exempt from the work requirement up to 15 percent of their ABAWD population not residing in a waived area or otherwise exempted from the work requirement. GAO examined (1) the trends in ABAWD participation in the Food Stamp Program, including recent data on ABAWDs who are living in waived areas, exempted from work requirements, participating in qualifying employment and training activities, or working, and (2) the extent to which the states have used employment and training program funding. GAO found that ABAWD participation in the Food Stamp Program has dropped rapidly since fiscal year 1996. Also, the states have not used a substantial portion of the funds made available for Food Stamp employment and training programs.

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