CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Homelessness alone isn’t automatically an exemption from work or training requirements for food stamp benefits recipients in West Virginia, according to state officials.

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources spokeswoman Allison Adler told The Charleston Gazette-Mail ( that regulations for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program don’t allow for blanket exemptions based on homelessness.

Beginning Oct. 1, exemptions for the chronically homeless will be considered on a case-by-case basis, Adler said.

According to officials, homelessness isn’t a cause for exemption but can be an indication that a person is “unfit” for work and thus not required to.

“Chronic homelessness, by itself, is not an exemption to the (able-bodied adults without dependents) work requirements, but may be a result of a potential mental or physical condition which renders the individual unfit for work,” the state’s policy will say.

The state announced last year it would reinstate a requirement for SNAP recipients to meet a monthly work or training requirement of 20 hours per week, or lose benefits after three months.

The changes, which took effect in January, affect those between the ages of 18 to 49 who are not disabled, don’t have dependents and don’t qualify for an exemption.

Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail,