SECTION 1115.035.25.10

IMNL is revised to reflect a change in policy in allowing condominium fees as a shelter expense for the Food Stamp Program.  Effective immediately, allow the entire condominium fee as a shelter expense for condominium owners.  Previously, condominium fees were allowable as a shelter cost only if they were identified as fees for a deductible expense for the Food Stamp Program.
  • Discuss this memorandum with all appropriate staff.

  • Budget the entire amount of condominium fees for condominium owners as a shelter expense.

  • File the revised manual pages in the hard copy of the food stamp manual.
  • HJK
    Distribution #3

    [ Memorandum Table of Contents ]

    trash collection) and telephone.  Utility costs are allowed by budgeting the appropriate utility standard.  For homeless households, the cost for shelter all or part of the month is a shelter expense.

    Shelter costs are as incurred or as billed rather than as paid.  Shelter costs do not include penalty fees (late payment charges on utilities, rent, mortgages, property insurance, and/or property taxes).

    Deduct monthly shelter costs in excess of 50 percent of the household's income after all other deductions have been allowed.  The excess shelter deduction cannot exceed $275 for households not containing any aged or disabled members.

    A household containing a member who meets the elderly/disabled definition receives an excess shelter deduction for the monthly cost that exceeds 50 percent of the household's monthly income after all other applicable deductions.

    If more than one food stamp household lives in one apartment and more than one household pays the rent and utilities, each food stamp household is entitled to a prorated share of the rent and appropriate utility standard. 

    1115.035.25.10        Home Ownership or Rent
    IM-#54  March 23, 2000

    Include in shelter costs the continuing expense of the dwelling (including mobile home and lot rent) occupied by the household. Such costs are rent, mortgage, or other charges leading to the ownership of


    the dwelling, including interest on such shelter costs.  Include property taxes, state and local assessments, and insurance on the structure itself.  For condominium owners allow the entire amount of the condominium fee as a shelter expense.  Do not include separate costs for insuring furniture or personal belongings.

    NOTE:  Allow personal property tax on a mobile home as a shelter expense.  No other personal property tax is allowable.

    1115.035.25.15        Mandatory Utility Standards
    IM-#1    January 15, 1999

    Utility costs are charges for heating and cooking fuel, electrictity, water, sewer, garbage and trash collection fees, telephone charges, and the fees charged by the utility provider for initial installation of the utility.  One time deposits are not considered a utility cost.  The costs of cutting wood (such as cutting permits, gas for chain saw, and equipment such as a chain saw) are not allowable shelter costs.  If the household purchases wood for heating or cooking, allow it as a utility expense.

    If the household incurs an allowable utility expense, budget the appropriate mandatory utility standard(s).

    The mandatory utility standards are as follows: 

     1. Standard Utility Allowance (SUA)

      Assess the household's eligibility for the SUA at each application, reapplication or when the household moves.  Use the SUA for the household if it incurs out-of-pocket utility expenses for primary heating or cooling costs or received energy assistance benefits at this address in the past 12 months. 

      The SUA includes all utility charges, heating/cooling and cooking fuel, electricity, water, garbage, sewer, trash collection fees, and telephone cost.  For the SUA to be used in calculating shelter cost, the utility charges for heating/cooling costs must be separate from the household rent or mortgage costs and actually incurred by the household.  Heating costs can be represented by a furnace, wood stove (if wood is purchased), fireplace, or electrical or kerosene space heater if the space heater is used as the primary source of heat.

      Utility costs for the operation of a space heater, electric blanket, heat lamp, or a cooking stove, etc. when used as a supplemental heating source do not qualify the household for the SUA.  The cost of an electric blower for an oil or gas furnace also does not qualify the household for the SUA.


      Cooling costs are defined as verifiable utility expenses relating to the operation of air conditioning systems or room air conditioners.  Cooling costs related to the operation of fans are not included.

      To be qualified, the household must be billed on a regular basis for its heating or cooling costs.  The household receives the SUA including a heating or cooling component throughout the year.

      Households not incurring any separate utility charges or billed separately for water, cooking fuel, sewer and/or garbage collection are not entitled to the SUA.  The household may be entitled to the non-heating cooling standard if they are billed for any of these utility expenses.

      DMH participants who pay a portion of utilities are entitled to the SUA if applicable.

      A household that received energy assistance benefits covering one of the last 12 months at its current address is entitled to the standard utility allowance for the certification period even if it does not incur any out-of-pocket expense.

      The standard utility allowance is $195 per month.

     2. Non-Heating/Cooling Standard (NHCS)

      If the household does not qualify for the SUA, but incurs a utility expense, use the NHCS.

      The NHCS includes utility charges other than for heating/cooling which the household incurs.  To use the NHCS in calculating shelter costs, the utility charges must be separate from the household's rent or mortgage costs and actually incurred by the household.

      To be qualified for the NHCS, the household must be billed on a regular basis for its utility costs.

      Households with heating/cooling costs included in the rent but are billed separately for water, cooking fuel, sewer and/or garbage collection are entitled to the NHCS.

      DMH participants who pay a portion of utility cost but are not entitled to the SUA, are entitled to the NHCS.

      The NHCS does not include telephone costs.  The telephone standard may be used with the non-
    heating/cooling standard.