Electronic Publications from the Food Assistance & Nutrition Research Program No. (EFAN-03-002) 152 pp

March 2003

Food Stamp Leavers Research Study-Study of ABAWDs Leaving the Food Stamp Program in South Carolina: Final Report

This report presents the findings of a study of able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) in South Carolina who left the Food Stamp Program (FSP) between October 1998 and March 2000. Under 1996 welfare reform legislation, ABAWDs are limited to 3 months of food stamp benefits in a 36-month period unless they work or participate in an approved work or training program. Survey data collected 12 months after they left the FSP showed that about 72 percent of ABAWD leavers were either working or living with an employed adult. Of those who were unemployed at the time of the survey, about half had worked in the past year. About half were below the poverty line, and two-thirds appeared, based on income, to still be eligible for food stamps. Forty percent were food insecure and 23 percent food insecure with hunger evident. Outcomes for ABAWDs who left the FSP in counties exempted from the ABAWD work requirements and time limits were similar to outcomes of ABAWDS leaving the program in nonexempt counties.

Keywords: food stamps, hunger, anti-poverty programs, welfare reform, poverty, food assistance programs, nutrition, temporary assistance to needy families, operations, caseloads, food security

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