Determine the amount of earned income the family will receive in present and future months. Discuss employment with them, including tenure with present employer, hours worked (regular or irregular hours, overtime, etc.), wages received (steady rate, piece work, commission, etc.), recent raises or promotions, anticipated raises or promotions, recent layoffs, or anticipated layoffs, etc. Obtain an accurate account of the participant’s employment. Use the past thirty (30) days to evaluate income stability in determining how to anticipate future income and whether to average income over a longer period of time.
Once the individual’s employment situation is determined, budget projected monthly income. Use the following guidelines to determine this monthly income.
When able to predict with certainty that the employment situation will not vary (such as the employee has a guaranteed wage and number of hours worked), budget the monthly amount. Infrequent and unpredictable overtime or conversely, infrequent and unpredictable work days missed do not alter the certainty of the employment situation. If income is received other than monthly, convert it to a monthly amount. If paid weekly, compute the monthly amount by multiplying by 4.333 weeks. If paid every two weeks, multiply by 2.166. If paid bimonthly, multiply by 2.
When an employee’s income varies from pay period to pay period, determine the likely pattern of future income to determine a monthly average. Utilize past patterns of income if these patterns will continue. When evaluating the length of time to use in determining patterns of income for projecting future income, always consider information from at least the past 30 days. If income fluctuates to the extent that a 30-day period does not provide an accurate indication of projected income, choose a different period of past time if it provides a more accurate indication of future income. Using a two-month time period is recommended if no reason exists why a shorter or longer period would better predict future monthly income. Use a longer or shorter period if adequate for determining monthly income. Record the basis for the time period used.
In some situations, recent past earnings records serve only as a partial guide for determining monthly income. For example, the employee or employer indicates that a change in wage rates, hours of work, job responsibilities, etc., recently occurred or is imminent. In other situations, no recent past earnings records exist to use as a guide. For example, the claimant just started to work. In these situations, carefully evaluate the information available from the employee, in comparison with known past earnings records and work patterns, if any, to determine a monthly income amount. It may be necessary to set a priority to verify accuracy of monthly income.
When unearned income fluctuates, compute it on an annual or other representative period basis and reduce it to a monthly amount.