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Food Stamps and Work - Iowa

With some exceptions, able-bodied adults between 16 and 60 must register for work, accept suitable employment, and take part in an employment and training program to which they are referred by the food stamp office. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in disqualification from the Program. In addition, able-bodied adults between 18 and 50 who do not have any dependent children can get food stamps only for 3 months in a 36-month period if they do not work or participate in a workfare or employment and training program other than job search. This requirement can be waived in some locations.

Food Stamp recipients who are disabled are exempt from the requirement to register for work or take part in the Food Stamps Employment and Training (FSET) program. Even though you are disabled, though, you may voluntarily participate in the FSET program. You may take advantage of the following FSET components and receive FSET Participant Allowances to defray the costs of participation.

FSET Components

Job Club

Job club is a job-seeking skills training component operated by IWD. IWD will provide Job Club participants an orientation to the program that includes an explanation of:

            FSET components

            Participation requirements

            Services the participants can receive

            Participantsí rights and responsibilities

            What is considered to be noncompliance

            The penalties for noncompliance

Job club consists of two-weeks of job-seeking skills training and then two-weeks of structured employment search. Participants spend up to four hours per day in Job Club classroom job-seeking skills training. Following the classroom training, participant conducts a two-week in-person job search.

Individual Job Search

IWD/IJS is an individual job search component operated by IWD. IWD will provide individual job search component participants an orientation that includes:

            Participation requirements.

            Participant rights and responsibilities.

            What is considered to be noncompliance.

            The penalties for noncompliance.

IWD/IJS participants are required to contact employers face-to-face to apply for jobs and arrange for interviews.

Educational Services

Educational services are general education development (GED), adult basic education (ABE), and English as a second language.(ESL) If IWD determines through individual assessment at job club orientation that further education would improve the personís chances of getting a job, IWD will make a referral to the appropriate education agency.

Educational services are available in all counties. Participation in educational services for eight weeks is considered to be two components.


Both voluntary and mandatory FSET program participants may be reimbursed for dependent care costs. Each participant will be issued $50 as a reimbursement for transportation and other costs reasonably necessary and directly related to program participation. IWD issues the allowances.

Dependent Care Reimbursement

Dependent care costs that are incurred so the person can participate in employment and training components may be reimbursed. IWD decides if dependent care costs will be reimbursed and if the amount of the costs is within the allowable reimbursement amount.

Participation Allowance

IWD will issue a $50 allowance for each four-week component in which a participant is placed. The allowance is for transportation or other costs reasonably necessary and directly related to participation.

See Also:

     Income and Food Stamps

           Food Stamp Eligibility

           Food Stamp Benefit Levels

           Food Stamps Rights and Responsibilities

     Iowa Food Stamp Program Overview

     Welcome and Introduction to Iowa Benefits

Source: Iowa Dept of Human Services Employees Manual

Title 7

                                        Chapter M, Food Stamp Employment and Training Program

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