In order to provide a guideline for treating income received from farm employment and the methods used to determine eligibility and basis of coupon issuance, farm workers may be classified for FS purposes in three broad categories.
- Households whose primary source of income is from farm employment from the same employer. Households falling within this category are regularly employed farm workers receiving a regular monthly salary and those households receiving income during the work season and deferred or advance payments against future earnings during the non-work season. Such deferred or advance payments can be in the form of cash, a line of credit from the employer, or a guaranteed line of credit from another source.
Income received by such households is considered earned income and subject to the three-month certification limit unless the only earned income belongs to the elderly or disabled household member(s).
For households receiving deferred or advance payments during the non-work season, calculate the basis of coupon issuance in a manner that considers the income variance.
EXAMPLE: Mr. J is a farm worker and received $200 per month during the work season. During the non-work season, he received $50 a month in deferred earnings. During the work season, calculate the basis of coupon issuance at $200 per month. During the non-work season, consider the difference in income received, and revise the basis of issuance to reflect receipt of $50 per month.
- Households with income derived from farm and non-farm employment or that may work for different employers. This category includes households with income during the farm season derived from farm employment but not regularly employed at such work, or that do not receive deferred or advance payments during the non-work season. Such households may work for a variety of employers and may also engage in non-farm work during the off season.
If the income of these households during the farm season can be reasonably predicted, establish the certification period not to exceed three months unless the only earned income belongs to the elderly or disabled household member(s).
- Other Farm Employment: This category includes those households that engage in farm employment on an as-needed or itinerant basis. Determine eligibility, basis of coupon issuance, and the certification period based on anticipated income.
Anticipation of income from farm employment for a certification period may be difficult. In interviewing the farm worker, and if necessary, the employer:
- review any records showing wages and hours worked for previous employment of this type
- discuss possible changes in wages and hours worked that are likely to occur in the current employment
- arrive at a mutually agreed upon anticipated income figure (ensure the household understands its responsibility to report any change); and
- process a change if information is received during the certification period that indicates income received differs from the amount of income anticipated