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SNAP Employment and Training Programs

If you get a letter in the mail that says you have an ABAWD status, contact ODHS as soon as possible. You need to take action.

Learn more

Oregon has two employment and training programs for people who receive SNAP.

Both programs provide free services to help you meet your job goals. You can choose if you want to participate. 

STEP programABAWD program

STEP program

"STEP" is the SNAP Training and Employment program. This program is for people age 16 or older who have SNAP food benefits, and who don't also have TANF cash benefits. (If you have TANF, you can get employment services through TANF.)

The STEP program is for people in Oregon who:

  • Are receiving SNAP benefits,
  • Are at least 16 years old, and
  • Are not receiving TANF benefits. (TANF is Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. If you have TANF and would like employment and training support, please reach out to your ODHS Family Coach. You can get services through TANF's JOBS program​.)

  • Through community partners, we help you overcome barriers and get the skills you need for the job you want. 
  • This program includes one-on-one support.
  • The STEP program ​may be able to cover the cost of training, textbooks, gas, bus tickets, housing and utility costs, child care, and work clothes.
  • Participating in STEP will not change your SNAP benefits. 

Contact your local o​ffice and ask for a referral to the STEP program.

ABAWD program

"ABAWD" stands for "Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents." This program is for SNAP recipients age 18 to 49 who don't have a child under 18 on their SNAP case. You can meet SNAP work requirements through this program and keep your food benefits while you look for a job.

The ABAWD program is only for people getting SNAP benefits who: 

  • Are 18 to 49 years old,
  • Don't have any children under 18 years old on their SNAP case, and
  • Don't meet an exemption​ or live in an exempt county

  • Through WorkSource Oregon, you will ​create an employment plan to reach your job goals and keep your SNAP benefits.
  • The program includes one-on-one support.
  • The ABAWD program may be able to cover the cost of training, textbooks, gas, bus tickets, housing and utility costs, and work clothes.

What to expect if you participate

You can visit the Oregon Employme​nt Department website to watch a video about the program and the next steps you will take. Some of the opportunities include:

  • Help searching for jobs
  • Job retention
  • Work experience
  • Work experience with subsidized employment
  • Internships
  • ​Internships with subsidized employment
  • ​On-the-job training
  • Apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship
  • Apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship with subsidized employment
  • Self-employment training
  • Basic education/foundational skills instruction
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE) or other vocational training
  • Short-term training
  • English language learning
  • Integrated education and training/Bridge programs
  • Wo​rk readiness training

To learn m​​ore

Visit the ​​​Oregon Employment Department website for program details.

Because of federal rules, people with an ABAWD status can usually only get three ​months of SNAP benefits in a 3-year period, unless they meet work requirements or have an exemption​

If you participate in the ABAWD program and complete 80 hours of work-related activities each month, this meets your work requirements so you ca​n keep getting SNAP benefits.

Some people with an ABAWD status are exempt from meeting work requirements. If you are exempt, you can ​can keep getting SNAP benefits without meeting work requirements or participating in the ABAWD program. ​

If you think you are exempt, contact ODHS as soon as possible. ODHS needs to approve your exemption.

If you want to participate in the ABAWD program, or want to request an exemption, please contact ODHS:

  • By phone at 833-947-1694
    • Phone hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday through Friday. 
    • Language interpreters available.
  • By email at
    • Please include in your email:
      • Your full name
      • Your SNAP case number
      • Your contact information and a good time to reach you

The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) does not discriminate against anyone. This means that ODHS will help all who qualify and will not treat anyone differently. See the USDA nondiscrimination statement for more information.