Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Manual

1115.010.00 Unearned Income

IM-#27 May 1, 2014IM-#12 January 25, 2013IM-#38, April 28, 2010,  IM-#29, April 8, 2010,  IM-#88, December 23, 2009,  IM-#84 August 5, 2005,  IM-#15  February 11, 2002,  IM-#10 February 16, 1999

Enter the income information on the Income (FMX0) and Income Amount (FMX3) screens. The income type code is UI (unearned income). The income source code follows each income in parenthesis. Refer to the FAMIS Income Code Chart for more information. Record a comment as outlined in the FAMIS Comments Quick Reference Chart . Unearned income includes the following.

Income Maintenance (IM)/Public Assistance (PA): includes payments received from federally-aided IM/PA programs, such as:

  • Temporary Assistance (C1-C6);
  • Blind Pension (B1);
  • SAB (F1);
  • Refugee cash assistance (RF);
  • PTD State Supplemental Payment (E1);
  • OAA State Supplemental Payment (A1);
  • Supplemental Nursing Care (N1);
  • Welfare payments from another state (WS); and
  • other assistance programs based on need.

If the assistance is a vendor payment (given to a third party on behalf of the EU), still consider it unearned income unless the type of vendor payment is specifically listed under income exclusions.

Assistance payment from programs which require performance of work as a condition of eligibility, without compensation other than the assistance payment, is considered unearned income.

Temporary Assistance Reduction – refusal to comply with program requirements: If the EU refused to comply with a requirement of Temporary Assistance, Food Stamp benefits cannot be increased. The reduction of the benefit due to refusal to comply with program requirements (RP) is unearned income for the Food Stamp Program. Refer to 1115.080.00 Prohibition In Increasing Food Stamp Benefits for more information.

Government Programs: payments received from non-excluded government-sponsored programs that can be construed to be a gain or benefit, including but not limited to, the following:

  • Agent Orange Veteran’s benefits (AV);
  • Black Lung benefits (BL);
  • Payments held in trust by Secretary of Interior for Indians (PS);
  • Vocational Rehabilitation payments for child care compensation (VF); and
  • Vocational Rehabilitation payments not for child care compensation (VR).

Annuities, Pensions, and Compensations: payments received as the following: annuity (AN);

  • union fund, pension benefits, or retirement (UF);
  • military retirement (MR);
  • disability benefit (DB);
  • veterans benefits (VA);
  • worker’s compensation (WC);
  • unemployment compensation (UC or UO);
  • strike benefits (SB);
  • Railroad Retirement (RR); or
  • benefits received under Social Security Programs, such as Social Security Disability or Social Security Retirement (SS) or SSI (SI).NOTE: Social Security payments intercepted by the IRS to collect claims for unpaid federal tax bills under the Federal Payment Levy Program are included as unearned income.

Severance Pay: payment received from an employer when an employee’s job is terminated (SV). One time severance payments are considered non-recurring payments.

Foster Care Payments: payments made to the EU for foster children or adults included as EU members (FC), including Chaffee foster care paid to the EU (CF). This is income to the child and is not budgeted if the child is not in the Food Stamp EU.

Adoption Subsidy: treat adoption subsidy maintenance payments for general living expenses (AS) as unearned income once an adoption is final. Exclude adoption subsidy payments for reimbursement (RM/RX) of child care or medical expenses from income. Treat pre-adoption payments as Foster Care (FC). This is income to the child if the child is in the home.

Guardianship Subsidy: payments made to the EU when an individual is acting as a guardian for children (GS). This is income to the child if the child is in the home.

Support or Alimony: payments made directly to the EU from non-EU members, including the following:

  • child support (CS) – this is income to the child for whom the payment is made if the child is in the EU;
  • child support arrearages (CA) – this is income to the child for whom the payment is made if the child is in the EU;
  • child support payments paid for someone outside the home (CR);
  • alimony (AL); and
  • alimony arrearages (AR).

Rental property: payments received from rental property is unearned income if a member of the EU is not actively engaged in managing the property at least 20 hours per week, less the expenses of producing that income). (RN)

Cash Gifts: count cash gifts as income if they can be anticipated (GF).

Contributions: money paid for expenses directly to the EU by a person outside the EU (CO).

EXAMPLE: Mrs. B’s son gives her money to pay her monthly phone bill. The money from the son is counted as unearned income.

If the son pays the money directly to the phone company, exclude the payment as income and consider it a vendor payment.


NOTE: Charitable contributions from non-profit organizations are considered donations and are excluded.

Money from spouse eating less than 50% meals: money paid to the EU or made available to the EU from a spouse who eats less than 50% of his/her meals in the home (MS).

Allotments: payments made from a military spouse or an institutionalized spouse/individual.

  • payments from a spouse in the military to the EU (AA);
  • payments from a spouse that is institutionalized to the community spouse living in the EU (A2);
  • payments from an individual that is institutionalized to a minor or dependent living in the EU (A3); and
  • payments from an individual that is institutionalized to a minor or dependent not living in the EU (A4).

Immigrant (alien) sponsor contribution: an EU with a sponsored immigrant must have the income of the sponsor and the sponsor’s spouse deemed (AC).

Proceeds from Trust Funds: monies withdrawn or dividends that are or could be received by an EU from trust funds under exempt resources (TR). Consider such trust withdrawals as income in the month received unless otherwise exempt under income exclusions. Consider dividends the EU has the option of either receiving or reinvesting in the trust as income in the month they become available to the EU unless exempt under income exclusions.

Proceeds from Trust Funds Paid to a Third Party: monies legally obligated and otherwise payable to the household which are diverted by the provider of the payment to a third party for household expense shall be counted as income and not excluded (TF).

NOTE:  Expenses paid to a provider on behalf of the EU from the trust should be counted as unearned income. The EU is entitled to income deductions for billed expenses following normal FS policy. If distributions are made from the Trust, comments should be recorded to support the income determination.

Lottery/Gambling Income: consider all gambling income as unearned income (LO). If the EU anticipates receiving a check from one-time winnings, such as a lottery ticket, the EU can choose to average the income or count it in the month received. Treat gambling winnings of a person who regularly plays gambling, bets on racehorses, etc., as unearned, fluctuating income if it can be anticipated. Do not count one-time winnings that cannot be anticipated as income.

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA): these benefits are available to workers who lose their jobs or whose work hours and wages are reduced as a result of increased imports. TRA is a weekly benefit payable to eligible workers following exhaustion of unemployment benefits. It is paid only to individuals enrolled in a training program. An individual may also receive an allowance for transportation and living expenses if attending training or conducting a job search beyond the normal commuting distance from home. If the individual finds a job beyond the normal commuting distance from home and wants to relocate to the job site, TAA may provide a relocation allowance. Count as income TRA and TAA payments for living expenses (room, board, clothing, etc.) (TL). Exclude from income TRA and TAA allowances for transportation, education, and relocation expenses (TN).

Sometimes the money for living expenses and transportation are combined into one check. A check which exceeds the weekly amount shown on the IMES screen generally includes a transportation reimbursement. To correctly decide what amount to budget as income, ask the participant what kind of payment is included in their check.

Other Payments: payments made to the EU that may be construed to be a gain or benefit, including the following:

  • dividends/royalties (DI);
  • incentive payments to encourage activity (IP);
  • representative payee – payment is not given to the beneficiary (RH);
  • reimbursements for living expenses (RL)
  • notes receivable (NR); and
  • non-bona fide loans (NB).

Earned or unearned income of EU members who are included (IC) but for whom benefits are not requested: income received by included (IC) EU members is unearned income for the remaining EU members. The income is entered as normally entered if the person has an EU role of IN (individual for whom benefits are requested). FAMIS knows how to budget the income for these individuals. The income is budgeted as follows:

Consider recurring lump sum payments as income when received. Code the recurring lump sum as the type of income it is on the Income (FMX0) screen and record that the payment is recurring.

EXAMPLE: Mr. C is receiving severance pay from his employer as a recurring lump sum over the next twelve months. Code the income as severance pay (SV) and record that the payments are recurring.

Irregular unearned income received on a casual or unpredictable basis that cannot be reasonably anticipated to be available during a three-month period and is not in excess of $30 during the three month period is excluded. Record the income on the Income Amount (FMX3) screen, and enter the excluded/irregular amount in the Irregular Amount field.

Always review the Food Stamp Budget Summary (FSBUDSUM or FM4A) screen prior to authorizing a case action. From the Budget Summary screen press F14=INCSUM to view the Income Summary Detail (INCSUMM or FM33) screen to ensure income you expect to be budgeted is included in the budget. If the income is incorrect, return to the appropriate screen and correct the inaccurate information.