The Greater Boston Food Bank Statement on USDA’s Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD) Rule Change

Media contact:
Catherine Drennan

BOSTON – Dec. 9, 2019 – The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) strongly opposes the implementation of the USDA’s Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD) rule change that was finalized last week. This deeply troubling rule will negatively impact an estimated 35,000 Massachusetts residents in 48 communities statewide, including 27 communities in GBFB’s Eastern Massachusetts service area. Over 5,400 retailers in Massachusetts will see an economic impact with the loss of approximately $65 million in annual federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funding.

This harsh directive limits the flexibility of states to waive the standard time limit for under-employed adults receiving SNAP benefits in communities experiencing high unemployment. It unnecessarily targets populations who face unique barriers to securing and sustaining stable employment, including veterans, people experiencing homelessness, those re-entering the workforce after incarceration, people with short or long-term disabilities, caretakers, recent high school graduates, former foster care youth, and others.

The SNAP program is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger. For every meal distributed by GBFB and the Massachusetts emergency food system, SNAP provides 5 meals to people in need.

This rule creates another hurdle in the fight to end hunger and undercuts efforts to address food insecurity and poverty across the country. It also contradicts the wishes of Congress, which did not include these changes in the 2018 Farm Bill it passed with bi-partisan support.

GBFB believes hunger is a non-partisan issue, and no one in our country should ever go hungry. We are committed to being there every day for all those struggling with hunger in Eastern Massachusetts and we hope the Trump administration will reconsider this rule and stand with us to help support our neighbors in need.

If you have any questions, please contact Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Catherine Drennan, at

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