IM-10 02/16/99 FOOD STAMP CHILD SUPPORT DEDUCTION
|FOOD STAMP CHILD SUPPORT DEDUCTION
FOOD STAMP MANUAL REVISION #5:
|The Food and Nutrition Service issued
the final regulation on the child support deduction allowed when computing
net income. This regulation resulted in several policy changes.
The policy changes are effective immediately.
Legally-Binding Child Support
The regulation added a legally enforceable separation agreement to the types of agreements that make child support legally binding. A legally enforceable separation agreement is a contract between the parties that is enforceable through court action.
Child support arrearage payments are an allowable deduction if legally obligated. The legal obligation can be an initial order or agreement that was never fulfilled or it can be a new order or agreement that requires payment of arrearages.
The regulations clarify that a legally
binding child support payment is allowable if it is to or for a non-household
member. This means the deduction continues if:
Amount of the Deduction
The amount of the child support deduction cannot exceed the amount that is legally obligated. If a household member pays both current child support and an arrearage, both are allowed if both have an order or agreement that establishes an obligation to pay.
Vendor Payments and Health Insurance as a Deduction
Legally obligated child support can be in the form of vendor payments as well as cash. Examples of this are rent, utilities and medical expenses paid by a noncustodial parent to a third party or to the household in which the child resides. The payer cannot be a member of the food stamp household receiving the vendor payments. Include vendor payments in the child support deduction.
Health insurance obtained by a noncustodial parent for the child can also be included in the child support deduction. Only the amount for the child(ren) covered by the order is deductible. The premium for health insurance may vary with the type of coverage and the nature of the obligation. Allow an amount that is reasonable.
Households must report at recertification changes in the legal obligation or actual amount paid.
During the certification period, households must report changes in their legal obligation. Examples of changes are: no longer having to pay because the child is now living with the payer or a change in the amount ordered to be paid.
Households do not have to report, during the certification period, fluctuations in the actual amount paid. However, if the household does report a change in the amount paid, staff must act on the change.
Verify the legal obligation, the amount
of the obligation and the actual amount paid at initial certification.
Verify changes in the legal obligation and the amount paid at recertification
or when reported. Verify questionable or inconsistent information.
Give households without a record of regular child support payments no more than a 3-month certification. Give a certification period of no more than 6 months to households with a record of child support payments.
The Food Stamp Manual is updated with the new policies. Attached is the hard copy of the revised pages.
The FS-1, IM-2 and IM-145 are being revised to obtain the necessary information about child support expenses. In the meantime, staff must remember to ask about child support paid in the form of vendor payments and health insurance.
Distribution # 3
|9. Work Study: income remaining
after allowable student deductions.
Unearned income includes, but is not limited to, the following.
1. IM/PA: includes payments received from federally-aided IM/Public Assistance programs, such as Temporary Assistance, SAB and SSI programs, or other assistance programs based on need.
income belonging to the excluded member. The excluded member's income and expenses are counted in determining the earned income standard, medical, dependent care,
budget agreed upon monthly installments.
b. Fluctuating: Claimant can choose to budget in the month billed, or average over the certification period (claimant can request a change in budgeting method once during the certification period).
2. One Time Expenses
Deduct the actual amount of legally binding child support the
household is paying to or for non-household members from the household's income. This means the deduction continues if:
For the purpose of this deduction, child support includes current payments, arrearages, vendor payments (rent, utilities, medical expenses) and health insurance. The amount of the child support deduction cannot exceed the amount that is legally obligated. Health insurance premiums may vary with the type of coverage and the nature of the obligation. Allow an amount that is reasonable. If necessary, prorate the health insurance premium.
Before allowing the deduction, verify the legal obligation, the amount of the legal obligation and the actual amount of child support paid. Do not pend or deny an application because the household fails to provide child support expense verification. If the child support expense cannot be verified, complete the budget without allowing the child support deduction.
Food stamp households, including the homeless, incurring shelter expenses receive a shelter deduction.
Consider each individual in a DMH apartment
placement as an individual food stamp household. Allow a prorated
share of the shelter expenses such as rent and the appropriate utility
standard for each household.
Allowable Shelter Costs
Shelter costs consist of the costs of home ownership or rent, utilities (heating and cooking fuel, electricity, water and sewer, and
1115.035.30.20 Deduction Conversion to Monthly Amount
Convert expenses billed less than monthly
into a monthly amount. Multiply the expense amount billed weekly
by 4.333 and expenses billed every two weeks by 2.166 to determine monthly
Net Income and Benefit Level Calculation
To determine net monthly food stamp income, use the exact dollars and cents for income, income deductions, excess shelter costs, and medical expenses. Round the monthly net food stamp income. Round down net monthly income calculations that end in 1 through 49 (such as $103.19 = $103.00). Round up net monthly income calculations that end in 50 through 99 (such as $130.70 = $131.00).
Use the following steps to determine the household's monthly net income:
1. Add the total monthly unearned income of all household members, minus income exclusions and the total gross monthly income earned by all household members (including any net self-employment income), minus earned income exclusions.
1. Income from the boarders includes all direct payments to the household for room and meals, including contributions to the household for part of the household's shelter expenses. Shelter expenses paid directly by the boarders to someone outside the household are not counted as income to the household. Such a payment is considered a vendor payment and excluded as income.
1. During the period of time a household member is disqualified or ineligible for failure to obtain or refusal to provide an SSN or due to temporary or undocumented immigrant status, determine eligibility and benefits of any remaining household members as follows.
a. Income: count a pro rata share of the income of the ineligible member as income to the remaining members. Calculate the pro rata share by subtracting the allowable exclusions from the ineligible member's income and dividing the income amount among all the household members, including the ineligible member(s). Count all but the ineligible member(s)'s share as unearned income to the remaining house-
EXAMPLE: Mr. G was disqualified for failure to provide an SSN and reapplied for food stamps on 3/10. His household consists of his wife and two children and himself. He earns $400 per month, which must be divided by the number of persons in the household (4). Mr. G's pro rata share is $100, not counted as income. The remaining $300 is the pro rata share for the three remaining household members and is counted as unearned income.
b. Deductible expenses: Apply the 20 percent earned income deduction to the prorated income attributed to the household if the income was earned income by the ineligible member. That portion of the household's allowable shelter, child support and dependent care expenses that are either paid by or billed to the ineligible member are divided evenly among the household members, including the ineligible member(s). The pro rata share for the qualified household members is counted as a dependent care, child support or shelter expense.
NOTE: If the ineligible person is the only elderly/disabled person in the household, do not allow medical expenses in excess of $35.
NOTE: If the disqualified person is the only elderly/ disabled person in the household, both the gross and net income tests apply.2. During the time a household member is disqualified for an IPV, any work registration/METP sanction, an 18 to 50 work requirement sanction, or being a fleeing felon, probation or parole violator, or conviction of a drug felony, determine eligibility and allotment of any remaining household members as follows:
a. Income: Count all earned or unearned income of the disqualified member in its entirety to the remaining household members.
All Household Members are Included in an IM Grant (Cash Assistance
under Temporary Assistance or GR)
Households in which all members receive cash assistance under Temporary Assistance or GR may have certification periods of up to 12 months, if no one in the household has earned income or the budget does not result in zero net income. If any member, not elderly or disabled, has earned income or the budget results in zero net income, give the household a three-month certification.
For other households, whenever possible, set the certification period to expire in the month the cash assistance face-to-face reinvestigation is due. If the certification period assigned matches the IM reinvestigation date, complete the food stamp recertification timely even if the IM reinvestigation is not done timely.
Cash assistance reviews are completed every
six months. When a cash assistance review falls within the certification
period, assess whether changes discovered during the Temporary Assistance
review affect food stamp issuance.
Households with All Members Disabled or Elderly
The length of certification for households in which the only earned income belongs to elderly or disabled household member(s) depends on the stability and predictability of the household's circumstances. Certify households with unstable unearned income and unpredictable circumstances from one to 12 months. Certify elderly/disabled HOUSEHOLDS WITH VERY STABLE (EARNED OR UNEARNED) INCOME FOR 24 MONTHS, provided other household circumstances are expected to remain stable. Households certified for 24 months must have a mid-certification review.
Households Receiving a Child Support Deduction
Give households without a record of
regular child support payments no more than a three-month certification.
Give a certification period of no more than six months to households with
a record of child support payments.
Homeless, Seasonal Farm Worker, and Migrant Households
1140.000.00 INTERIM CONTACTS
Changes occur in household circumstances
during the certification period. Households are required to report
certain changes. Others are discovered at an IM reinvestigation,
elderly/disabled mid-certification review, or from other sources.
Act on all changes. Verification, necessary action, and the time
frame for action depend on the type of change and its effect on eligibility
Household Reporting Requirements
Households must report:
1. Changes in gross monthly unearned income of more than $25 (changes in IM grants are not required to be reported).