Revision 18-3; Effective July 1, 2018

 

 

W—1410 General Policy

Revision 17-2; Effective April 1, 2017

 

Income is any type of payment that is of gain or benefit to a household. Income is either counted or exempted from the budgeting process. Earned income is related to employment and entitles a household to deductions not allowed for unearned income. Unearned income is income received without performing work-related activities. It includes benefits from other programs. To determine the date income can reasonably be anticipated, use factors specific to the source of income and the distance it has to travel through the mail, weekends and holidays.

Consider the income of any person who is included in the certified or budget group/Eligibility Determination Group (EDG). 

Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (RSDI); Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits; or other such funds legally obligated to a beneficiary are not counted if a payee who is not a member of the household:

  • receives the funds; and
  • does not make the money available to the beneficiary.

In the beneficiary’s EDG, the total amount of the legally obligated funds the payee makes available to the beneficiary in cash, by way of vendor payment or through items purchased for the beneficiary using the beneficiary's money (includes payments made by the payee to a third party on behalf of the beneficiary) is counted as unearned income. Any portion of the funds the payee keeps for the payee's own use is counted as unearned income in the payee's EDG.

The income of the following individuals must be considered:

  • any person who is included in the certified or budget group/EDG member, including disqualified members;
  • any person living in the home who is not included in the certified or budget group but who is legally responsible for a member of the certified group; and
  • an alien's sponsor.

Exception: the income of a legal guardian for an HTW minor is not considered when determining the HTW eligibility.

If a woman is determined to be eligible, the EDG should not be denied if the budget group income increases above the income limit. The budget should be adjusted to reflect the new income.

Do not set a special review if the individual indicates that a change in income from any source will occur before the next renewal.

Since the Healthy Texas Women (HTW) provides limited benefits, a woman is not required to pursue and accept all income to which she is legally entitled per A-1311, Requirement to Pursue Income.

Note: As a prudent worker judgment, staff should inform the applicant of any income for which she may be eligible to receive.

 

W—1411 Types of Income

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015
 

 

W—1411.1 Disability Benefits

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

 

W—1411.1.1 Agent Orange Settlement Payments

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Agent Orange Settlement Payments disbursed by AETNA Insurance Company and paid to the following individuals are exempt:

  • veterans with disabilities exposed to Agent Orange while in Vietnam who suffer from total disabilities caused by any disease, and
  • survivors of these deceased veterans.

These veterans receive yearly payments. Survivors of these deceased veterans receive a lump-sum settlement payment.

Note: Veteran's Administration payments are counted as unearned income, including benefits paid to veterans with service-connected disabilities resulting from exposure to Agent Orange. See W-1411.4.20, Veterans Benefits.

 

W—1411.1.2 Disability Insurance Benefits

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Count as unearned income.

 

W—1411.1.3 Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Payments

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Payments from the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (the "Act"), Public Law 101-426, are exempt.

The Act established a program to pay damages to individuals for injuries or deaths caused by exposure to radiation from nuclear testing and uranium mining. When the affected individual is deceased, the surviving spouse, children, parents, grandchildren, or grandparents receive the payments.

 

W—1411.1.4 Worker's Compensation

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

The gross benefit is counted as unearned income, less amounts:

  • recouped for a prior worker's compensation overpayment, or
  • paid for attorney's fees. Note: The Texas Workers' Compensation Commission (TWCC) or a court sets the amount of the attorney's fee to be paid.

A deduction from the gross benefit for court-ordered child support payments is not allowed.

Exception: Worker's compensation benefits paid to the individual for out-of-pocket medical expenses are considered as reimbursements.

 

W—1411.2 Education and Training

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015
 

 

W—1411.2.1 Educational Assistance

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Educational assistance, including educational loans, are exempt, regardless of the source. Loans for education, including loans from relatives or other people, are considered as educational assistance only if payment is deferred.

Educational assistance is:

  • any financial aid for vocational or educational courses from:
    • an organization (such as fraternal, alumni, etc.); or
    • a government program or agency (such as the U.S. Office of Education, Department of Veterans Affairs, or Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services).
  • provided to students who are enrolled in a:
    • program that provides for completion of a secondary high school diploma or the equivalent (such as a general equivalency diploma [GED]);
    • school for people with intellectual or physical disabilities; or
    • post-secondary institution.

Note: "Post-secondary" includes institutions of higher education and others not requiring a high school diploma (such as community colleges and vocational educational programs) authorized by the state to provide educational or training programs beyond secondary education.

The U.S. Office of Education under Title IV of the Higher Education Act administers most educational assistance programs. A few examples of the most common Title IV educational assistance grants include:

  • Pell Grants,
  • Stafford Loan Program,
  • Parent Loans for Students (PLUS Loans),
  • Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants,
  • College Work Study, and
  • Carl D. Perkins Loans (Title IV, Part E) (formerly National Direct Student Loans).

The National Community Services Act (NCSA) program also provides educational assistance. Individuals are awarded from $1,000 to $4,000 per year of completed services to apply toward past or future educational expenses. The educational award is not counted, as it is always made payable directly to the financial institution or institution of higher learning.

The Department of Veterans Affairs administers education programs designed for veterans, reservists, members of the National Guard, and their widows and orphans. These include:

  • Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) Active Duty Educational Assistance Program,
  • Vocational Rehabilitation,
  • Post-Vietnam Era Veterans' Educational Assistance Program (VEAP),
  • Survivor's and Dependent's Educational Assistance (DEA), and
  • MGIB - Selected Reserve Educational Assistance Program.

 

W—1411.2.2 Job Training

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

 

W—1411.2.2.1 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

All WIOA payments are exempt.

 

W—1411.2.2.2 Other Job Training and Training Allowances

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Portions of payments earmarked as reimbursements for training-related expenses are exempt, and any excess is counted as earned income.

 

W—1411.3 Employment and Self-Employment Income

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

 

W—1411.3.1 Children's Earned Income

Revision 17-2; Effective April 1, 2017

 

Exempt the earnings of a child under age 18 who is:

  • a full-time student, including a home-schooled student; or
  • a part-time student employed less than 30 hours a week.

Exempt the earnings of an 18-year-old in the budget group if the 18-year-old is:

  • a full-time student, including a home-schooled child, or a part-time student employed less than 30 hours a week; and
  • considered a child. A child is defined as a household member under 19 years of age unless the child is married or legally emancipated.

 

W—1411.3.2 Contractual Earnings

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Contractual earnings are wages and salaries only. Self-employment income, unearned income, or income received on an hourly or piecework basis are not included. The two basic types of contractual earnings are:

  • Seasonal employment — available only during certain months of the year and recurs each year. Examples: School-related employment, certain types of farm work, and summer or winter employment. Divide seasonal employment that is a household's annual means of support over 12 months. If the income supports the household for only a portion of the year and the household has income from other sources the rest of the year, average the earnings over the time they are intended to cover.
  • Contractual employment — nonseasonal employment that is contracted for a specific time and does not recur. Divide earnings over the time covered by the contract.

 

W—1411.3.2.1 Monthly Budgeting of Contractual Earnings

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Contractual earnings may be budgeted monthly by:

  • dividing the total gross amount earned under the contract by the number of months the contract covers or by 12 months, whichever is applicable; and
  • adding this amount to any other income, and then budgeting according to usual procedures. Note: These steps should not be followed if the income is not received as stipulated in the contract or if labor disputes interrupt income.

If the individual's employment situation changes and the income is not received as stipulated in the contract or if labor disputes interrupt income, advisors should:

  • recompute the income or adjust the benefits accordingly; and
  • document all the facts that caused the recomputation or adjustment.

 

W—1411.3.3 Military Pay and Allowances

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Military pay and allowances for housing, food, base pay, and flight pay is counted as earned income, less pay withheld to fund education under the GI Bill.

 

W—1411.3.3.1 Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance (FSSA)

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

FSSA is a monthly payment made to certain low-income service members and their families so they will not have to depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to meet their needs. The service members' pay statements usually include the FSSA and are counted as earned income.

 

W—1411.3.3.2 Combat (Hazardous Duty) Payments

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

All of the combat payments, also known as hazardous duty payments, received by a legal parent who is a member of the U.S. military, absent solely because the individual has been deployed to a combat zone, are counted as earned income.

 

W—1411.3.4 Self-Employment

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Self-employment income is usually income from one's own business, trade, or profession rather than from an employer. However, some individuals may have an employer and receive a regular salary. If an employer does not withhold income taxes or Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes, even if required to do so by law, the person is considered self-employed.

Advisors must inform households in writing to keep self-employment records and receipts for verification purposes for future recertifications. Form TF0001, Notice of Case Action, contains the self-employment information.

 

W—1411.3.4.1 Types of Self-Employment Income

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Types of self-employment include:

  • odd jobs, such as mowing lawns, babysitting, and cleaning houses;
  • owning a private business, such as a beauty salon or auto mechanic shop;
  • farm income; and
  • income from property.

For details about determining the amount of self-employment income for TWHP, see the following sections:

  • A-1323.4.4, Determining the Amount of Self-Employment Income;
  • A-1323.4.5, Allowable Costs of Producing Income;
  • A-1323.4.6, Computation Methods;
  • A-1323.4.7, Determining Net Self-Employment Income;
  • A-1323.4.8, Changes in Annual or Seasonal Self-Employment Income; and
  • A-1323.4.9, Rebudgeting Income and Expenses.

 

W—1411.3.4.2 Property Income

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Income from renting, leasing, or selling property on an installment plan is self-employment income. Property includes equipment, vehicles, and real property.

Income from property is counted as:

  • earned if the:
    • person spends an average of at least 20 hours a week in management or maintenance activities; or
    • income is from noncommercial boarding situations.
  • unearned if the person spends an average of less than 20 hours a week in management or maintenance activities.

Work-related expenses are allowed for earned income. For unearned income, only the expenses associated with producing the income should be deducted.

If the individual sells property on an installment plan, the payments are counted as income. The balance of the note is exempted as an inaccessible resource.

 

W—1411.3.4.3 Noncommercial Roomer/Boarder Payments

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

The noncommercial roomer/boarder policy is used if a noncertified household member makes payments to a certified member under a formal or informal landlord/tenant relationship. Payments made by boarders for room, meals, and other shelter expenses are counted. Payments made by roomers for room and other shelter expenses are counted.

See A-1323.4.5, Allowable Costs of Producing Income, to determine the countable amount of noncommercial roomer/boarder payments. If there is not a formal or informal landlord/tenant relationship, A-1326.1, Cash Gifts and Contributions, policy applies.

Roomer/boarder status should not be given to:

  • anyone whose income can be applied to the certified group; or
  • a dependent child who is an ineligible alien.

 

W—1411.3.5 Wages, Salaries, Commissions and Tips

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

The actual gross amount of all wages, salaries, commissions, bonuses and tips count as earned income before deductions such as flexible fringe benefits, cafeteria plans and employee retirement contributions are withheld from the amount.

Wages held by the employer at the request of the employee or garnished wages are counted as income in the month the household would otherwise have been paid. If, however, an employer holds the employee's wages as a general practice, this money counts as income in the month it is paid.

An advance counts in the month it is received. When an advance is repaid, the payback amount is deducted from the gross pay and the remainder is budgeted as the countable gross amount.

 

W—1411.3.5.1 Federal Tax Refunds and Earned Income Tax Credits (EIC)

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Households with tax dependents and earnings below levels established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are potentially eligible to receive EIC payments from the IRS.

EIC money is included in an individual's:

  • paycheck (advance EIC payments) before the individual files an income tax return, or
  • IRS refund after the individual files an annual income tax return.

Federal tax refunds and EIC payments are exempt.

 

W—1411.3.5.2 Flexible Fringe Benefits

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Fringe benefit plans allow the employee to choose from benefit components such as insurance, extra vacation time, and payments to third parties for medical bills or child care. These are also called "cafeteria plans."

Under some plans, employers may:

  • withhold wages to pay for benefits selected by the employee; or
  • offer benefit credits in addition to wages, which the employee can use to purchase benefits.

Some plans may pay the remaining unused credit as part of the employee's wages.

If the employer … the advisor must count …
withholds the employee's wages to purchase benefits, the held wages as earnings in the pay period the employee would have normally received them.
provides credit in addition to wages, as earnings only the portion that is paid directly to the employee. If the employer pays the unused credit in cash, the advisor must follow the steps below to determine the countable excess income:
  1. Determine the total amount of gross wages/salary.
  2. Add the benefit credit amount to the wages/salary from Step 1.
  3. Subtract the cost of fringe benefits up to the amount of the benefit credit from the amount in Step 2.
  4. The remaining income from Step 3 is the countable gross earned income for the EDG.

 

W—1411.3.5.3 Income from Tips

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Household members who are employed in service-related occupations (beauticians, waiters, delivery staff, etc.) are likely to earn tips in addition to wages. Tips are counted as earned income.

Tip income is added to wages before applying conversion factors.

Note: Tips are not considered as self-employment income unless related to a self-employment enterprise.

 

W—1411.3.5.4 Vacation Pay

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

If an individual receives vacation pay … the payment is considered …
during or before termination of employment, earned income.
after termination of employment in one lump sum, a liquid resource in the month received.
after termination of employment in multiple checks, unearned income.

 

W—1411.3.6 Temporary Census Income

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

Exempt wages.

 

W—1411.4 Government Payments

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

Government payments are counted unless exempted in this section or by other policy in W-1400, Income.

 

W—1411.4.1 Adoption Assistance

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

Adoption assistance payments are exempt.

 

W—1411.4.2 Crime Victim's Compensation Payments

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

Crime victim's compensation payments are provided from the funds authorized by state legislation to assist a person who:

  • was a victim of a violent crime;
  • was the spouse, parent, sibling, or adult child of a victim who died as a result of a violent crime; or
  • is the guardian of a victim of a violent crime.

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) distributes the payments monthly or in a lump sum. These payments are exempt.

 

W—1411.4.3 Government Disaster Payments

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Federal disaster payments and comparable disaster assistance provided by states, local governments, and disaster assistance organizations are exempt if the household is subject to legal penalties when the funds are not used as intended (including temporary employment of six months or less for disaster-related work, paid under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and funded by the National Emergency Grant).

Examples:

  • Payments by the Individual and Family Grant Program or Small Business Administration to rebuild a home or replace personal possessions damaged in a disaster.
  • Payments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist with rent.

 

W—1411.4.4 Government Housing Assistance

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

The value of government housing or rental subsidies, whether cash, two-party check, in-kind, or vendor-paid, are exempt.

 

W—1411.4.5 Transitional Living Allowance

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

Transitional living allowances (TLA) are exempt. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) distributes TLA to a foster child who:

  • is under age 21;
  • has completed the preparation for adult living (PAL) classes; and
  • has left foster care or is transitioning out of foster care.

Payments:

  • are received for a maximum of 12 months;
  • cannot exceed $500 a month;
  • cannot total more than $1,000; and
  • are intended for expenses other than ongoing room and board.

 

W—1411.4.6 Reserved for Fture Use

Revision 18-3; Effective July 1, 2018

 

 

 

W—1411.4.7 National and Community Services Act (NCSA)

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

The NCSA established a corporation to administer paid volunteer service programs. The corporation provides funds, training, and technical assistance to states and communities to develop and expand human, education, environmental, and public safety services.
The corporation oversees programs created under the Domestic Volunteer Service Act (DVSA) of 1973 such as:

  • Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA),
  • Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP),
  • Foster Grandparents, and
  • Senior Companion Program.

The corporation also administers programs established in 1993 that include:

  • AmeriCorps,
  • Learn and Serve, and
  • National Senior Service Corps (Senior Corps).

For programs established in 1973:

Payments, living allowances, and stipends are exempt.

For programs established in 1993:

Payments except on-the-job-training (OJT) payments are exempt. 

OJT payments for adults are counted as earned income. A child's OJT payment is exempt if the child is under:

  • age 19; and
  • under parental control of another household member.

Exception: OJT payments received by AmeriCorps volunteers are exempt.

 

W—1411.4.8 Native and Indian Claims

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Exempted payments made to Native Americans under various public laws include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Distributions from Native Corporations made under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) (Public Law [PL] 92-203 and Section 15 of PL 100-241).
  • Funds distributed per capita or held in trust by the Indian Claims Commission for members of Indian tribes, as follows:
    • Grand River Band of Ottawa Indians (PL 94-540);
    • Income to certain tribal members from land held in trust by the United States government (PL 94-114, Section 6);
    • Income resulting from provisions of PL 92-254; and
    • Red Lake Band of Chippewa (PL 98-123, Section 3) or Assiniboine Tribe of the Fort Belknap Indian Community, and the Assiniboine Tribe of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation (PL 98-124, Section 5).
  • Funds distributed by the Secretary of Interior to tribal members from:
    • tribal trust funds on a per capita basis (PL 98-64); or
    • judgment funds from claims against the United States and held in trust or distributed on a per capita basis (PL 93-134, as amended by 97-458).
  • Payments by the Indian Claims Commission to the:
    • Passamaquoddy Tribe, the Penobscot Nation, and the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians or any of their members [Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980, PL 96-420, Section 9(c)].
    • Confederated Tribes and Bands of Yakima Indian Nation or the Apache Tribe of the Mescalero Reservation (PL 95-433).
    • Seneca Nation or its members (Seneca Nation Settlement Act of 1990, PL 101-503).
    • Blackfeet, Gros Ventre, and Assiniboine tribes of Montana (PL 97-408).
    • Saginaw Chippewa of Mississippi [PL 99-123, Section 6(b)(2)].
  • Payments to the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Arizona (PL 97-403).
  • Payments to heirs of deceased Indians made under the Old Age Assistance Claims Settlement Act (PL 98-500).

Exception: Money given to Native Americans from gaming revenues (such as from casino profits, race tracks, lotteries, etc.) is not exempt under these laws. Gaming revenues are counted as unearned income.

 

W—1411.4.9 Nutrition Programs

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

The following amounts are exempt:

  • the value of food assistance under the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 and under the National School Lunch Act; and
  • benefits received under Title VII, Nutrition Program for the Elderly, of the Older American Act of 1965.

 

W—1411.4.10 One-Time Grandparent Payments

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

One-Time Grandparent payments are exempt as income.

 

W—1411.4.11 One-Time Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (OTTANF)

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

OTTANF is exempt as income.

 

W—1411.4.12 Payments to Vietnam Veterans' Children

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

 

W—1411.4.12.1 Payments to Vietnam Veterans' Children Born with Spina Bifida (Public Law 104-204)

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

These VA payments made to Vietnam veterans' children who are born with spina bifida are exempt.

 

W—1411.4.12.2 Payments to Children of Women Vietnam Veterans Born with Certain Birth Defects (Public Law 106-419)

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

VA payments made to the children of women Vietnam veterans who are born with a birth defect are exempt.

 

W—1411.4.13 Payments to Victims of Nazi Persecution

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Payments made to individuals because of their status as victims of Nazi persecution are exempt.

 

W—1411.4.14 Payments to World War II Filipino Veterans and Spouses

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Division A, Title X, Section 1002), some World War II Filipino veterans who served in the military forces of the Government of Commonwealth of the Philippines, and their spouses, are authorized to receive one-time lump-sum payments of up to $15,000.

These payments are exempt.

 

W—1411.4.15 Relocation Assistance

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

The following payments are exempt if provided under:

  • Title II of the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisitions Act of 1970;
  • Title I of Public Law 100-383 (these payments are made to Aleuts or individuals of Japanese ancestry [or their heirs] who were relocated during World War II); or
  • Public Law 93-531 to members of the Navajo or Hopi Tribes.

 

W—1411.4.16 Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (RSDI)

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

The benefit amount, including the deduction for the Medicare premium, less any amount that is being recouped for a prior RSDI overpayment, is counted as unearned income.

Note: The Social Security Administration (SSA) may deposit RSDI benefits into a Direct Express card debit account. See www.ssa.gov/pubs/10073.html.

 

W—1411.4.17 Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

The income of an SSI recipient is exempt.

 

W—1411.4.18 Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

The TANF benefit amount (after recoupment) counts as unearned income.

Retroactive or restored TANF or refugee cash assistance payments are exempt as income.

 

W—1411.4.18.1 TANF Annual School Subsidy Payment

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

TANF annual school subsidy payments are exempt.

 

W—1411.4.19 Unemployment Compensation

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

The gross unemployment insurance benefit (UIB), less any amount being recouped for a UIB overpayment, counts as unearned income.  

Exception: The gross amount counts if the household agreed to repay a SNAP overpayment through voluntary garnishment.

 

W—1411.4.20 Veterans Benefits

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

The VA provides payments to veterans with disabilities and/or their spouses/dependents and to spouses/dependents of deceased veterans. VA benefits are not subject to federal or state income tax or child support garnishment.

Three basic VA benefit programs are described in this section:

  • Pension,
  • Disability Compensation, and
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).

VA Pension

VA pension payments are made to certain veterans with disabilities based on financial needs. Low-income veterans who either have a disability or are age 65 and older may be eligible for a VA pension if they have 90 days or more of active military service with at least one day during a period of war. Payments are made to bring the veteran's total income, including other retirement or Social Security income, to a level set by Congress. Recipients must re-qualify each year to continue to receive payments. There is a similar pension benefit available for surviving spouses and dependent minor children of such deceased veterans.

VA Disability Compensation

VA disability compensation is a payment made to a veteran with a service-related disability. Eligibility is not based on financial need. The amount of the payment varies with the percentage of the veteran's disability and the number of the veteran's dependents living in or out of the home. The payment can also be made to a spouse, child or parent of a veteran because of the service-related death of the veteran.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

DIC is a monthly benefit paid to eligible survivors of active duty service members and survivors of those veterans whose deaths are determined by VA to be service-related. This payment is a flat monthly payment, regardless of other income. The payment is payable for the life of the spouse, provided the spouse does not remarry before age 57; however, should a remarriage end, DIC benefits can be reinstated. This payment is adjusted annually for cost-of-living increases and is non-taxable. VA adds a monthly transitional payment to the surviving spouse with minor children for the first two years of DIC entitlement or until the last child turns age 18, whichever occurs first. See http://benefits.va.gov/Compensation/current_rates_dic.asp for current payment amounts.

Veterans with certain disabilities may be eligible for additional special monthly compensation such as:

  • Aid and Attendance and Housebound payments, which are an allowance to veterans and dependents who are in need of regular aid and attendance by another person, or a veteran who is permanently housebound; and
  • reimbursement for unusual medical expenses.

The gross benefit less any amount recouped or suspended for VA overpayment is counted as unearned income, except as described below for reimbursement for medical and attendant care expenses. These special compensation payments that are intended to cover medical and attendant care expenses are exempt. These payments are exempt as reimbursement as explained in A-1332, Reimbursements.

Apportioned VA payments are a direct payment of the dependent's portion of the VA benefit to a dependent spouse or child not living with the veteran. Apportioned VA payments are unearned income to the dependent spouse or child not living with the veteran.

Other Types of Veterans Benefits

  • Military retirement payment — A payment made to an individual who retired from active duty military service after at least 20 years of service. Military retirement is not a VA program, but is paid by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service in Cleveland (DFAS-CL). The gross payment is counted as unearned income.
  • Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) — Active duty members are automatically enrolled in this program. Surviving spouses and/or children of service members who die while on active duty may be entitled to SBP payments made by DFAS-CL. SBP payments are equal to 55 percent of what a member's retirement pay would have been had the member been retired at 100 percent disability. An SBP payment is reduced by the amount of payments provided under the VA DIC program.

At retirement, retirees may choose to purchase the SBP. In this case, the SBP pays retired military members’ eligible survivors an inflation-adjusted monthly income. Basic SBP for a spouse pays a benefit equal to 55 percent of the retired individual's pay. Eligible children may also be SBP beneficiaries while they are dependents of the retired individual, either alone or added to spouse coverage. Any VA DIC paid to a spouse is subtracted from SBP payments, although VA DIC payments to or for children do not affect SBP payments. SBP premiums are refunded to the survivor if the monthly VA DIC amount is greater than the SBP monthly annuity.

The gross amount of any SBP payment is counted as unearned income.

VA educational assistance programs — Different programs provide education assistance, including vocational rehabilitation. The policy in A-1322.1, Educational Assistance, applies.

 

W—1411.4.21 DFPS Relative Caregiver Reimbursement Program Payments

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

One-time integration payments are exempt from income.

Flexible support payments are exempt from income.

 

W—1411.4.22 Healthy Marriage Development Program Payments

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

A payment received for completing the Healthy Marriage Development Program is exempt. The advisor must document as required by policy in A-1380, Documentation Requirements.

 

W—1411.5 Income from Property

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

 

W—1411.5.1 Dividends and Royalties

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Dividends count as unearned income. Exception: Dividends from insurance policies are exempt as income.

Royalties count as unearned income, less any amount deducted for production expenses and severance taxes.

 

W—1411.5.2 Payments for Mineral Rights

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Payments for mineral rights count as unearned income.

 

W—1411.6 Other

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

 

W—1411.6.1 Cash Gifts and Contributions

Revision 18-1; Effective January 1, 2018

 

Cash gifts and contributions count as unearned income unless they:

  • are made by a private, nonprofit organization on the basis of need; and
  • total $300 or less per household in a federal fiscal quarter. The federal fiscal quarters are January to March, April to June, July to September, and October to December.

If these contributions exceed $300 in a quarter, the excess amount counts as income in the month received.

Exception: Contributions from noncertified household members are budgeted according to policy explained in W-1411.6.1.1, Contributions from Noncertified Household Members.

Related Policy
MyGoalsPayments, A-1326.1

 

W—1411.6.1.1 Contributions from Noncertified Household Members

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

If a noncertified person(s) lives in the home with a member of the budget group and shares household expenses (no landlord/tenant relationship), any payments the noncertified person makes to the unit for common household expenses (including food, shelter, utilities, and items for home maintenance) are exempt. If a noncertified household member makes additional payments for use by a certified member, it is a contribution.

If a noncertified household member makes payments to a certified member under a formal or informal landlord/tenant relationship, countable income is determined according to the roomer/boarder policy in W-1411.3.4.3, Noncommercial Roomer/Boarder Payments.

 

W—1411.6.1.2 Gifts from Tax-Exempt Organizations

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Gifts from tax-exempt organizations are exempt if the gift is for a child with a life-threatening condition and the amount of the gift is:

  • less than $2,000 annually, and
  • not converted to cash.

If the gift is converted into cash or exceeds $2,000 a year, the conversion or the excess counts as unearned income in the month of receipt and is exempt as a resource in the months that follow.

 

W—1411.6.2 Child Support

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Payments obtained on behalf of a child count as unearned income. Payments are considered as child support if:

  • a court ordered the support, or
  • the child's caretaker or the person making the payment states the purpose of the payment is to support the child.

Advisors must consider the following in determining child support:

  • Gifts or donations as contributions are not considered child support. Gifts are items or money that only benefit the child for a specific purpose, such as a birthday present. These gifts or donations include (but are not limited to) clothes, toys, or personal items, or money to purchase clothes, toys, or personal items.
  • Ongoing child support income is considered as income to the children, even if someone else living in the home receives it.
  • Child support arrears is considered as unearned income to the caretaker.

If an absent parent is making child support payments but moves back into the home of the caretaker and child, the child support is not counted. The earnings and/or other income count as a regular household member.

If a caretaker receives current child support for a nonmember (or a member who is no longer in the home) but uses the money for personal or household needs, the amount counts as unearned income. The amount actually used for or provided to the nonmember for whom it is intended to cover is not counted.

If a single payment covers two or more children (including at least one who is not an applicant/recipient) and the support order does not specify a portion for each child, the payment is prorated among all of the children. When two or more children receive child support from the same father and one child receives Supplemental Security Income, the payment is always prorated.

 

W—1411.6.2.1 Counting Child Support

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

For child support paryments issued via … funds are …
warrants, mailed from Austin, Texas, the day after the disbursement date listed on the Texas Child Support Enforcement System (TXCSES) inquiry system. When determining availability, consider the distance the payment has to travel through the mail.
direct deposit/electronic transfers, available two business days after the disbursement date listed on the TXCSES Web inquiry system.
Texas debit cards, available two business days after the disbursement date listed on the TXCSES Web inquiry system.

Full child support payments are counted, less the $75 disregard deduction.

 

W—1411.6.2.2 Lump-Sum Child Support Payments

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

Lump-sum child support payments received or anticipated to be received more often than once a year count as unearned income in the month received. Lump-sum child support payments received once a year or less frequently are not counted as income. See W-1412.1, Lump-Sum Payments.

Lump-sum payments on child support arrears are received from the following sources:

  • IRS intercept program — This occurs when the IRS intercepts the absent parent's tax refund to pay child support arrears.
  • Excess payment — When the OAG sends a second excess payment to the individual, the advisor receives Form H1719, Notice of Excess Payment, with the date and the amount. See the glossary for more information.
  • OAG adjustments — The advisor receives a PBS-OAGF1 Report, Clients Receiving a Lump Sum Adjustment from OAG-Possible Ineligibility. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) produces this report when the OAG makes adjustments to an EDG that result in a lump-sum amount being distributed to the individual. Adjustments may occur when federal distribution changes are implemented, court orders are modified, or EDG errors are corrected.

Lump-sum payments on current child support are received from the following sources:

  • Advance pay — Advance pay occurs when the absent parent is current on obligated amounts and voluntarily pays an amount in advance of the obligated monthly amount. Example: The absent parent is obligated to pay $200 a month and is current on that amount. The absent parent loses his job and receives a severance payment of $2,000 and decides to pay $1,000 in advance to cover child support for the next five months. The payment to the individual is not counted as income.
  • Future pay — Future pay occurs when the absent parent is current on obligated amounts and voluntarily and routinely pays an extra amount over the obligated amount. Example: The absent parent is obligated to pay $200 a month and is current on that amount. The absent parent pays $25 extra each month (or some months). The OAG releases the money as received. This payment counts as unearned income if the advisor can anticipate that it will be received more often than once a year.

 

W—1411.6.2.3 Medical Support Payments

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

When a court order is entered, it designates the amount of child support and/or medical support a parent receives on behalf of the children. Medical support is in the form of:

  • health insurance, ordered in addition to child support; or
  • a cash amount for the purpose of offsetting medical expenses.

If the individual does not receive Medicaid and is responsible for paying medical expenses, the payments are considered a reimbursement and the policy for reimbursement in W-1412.2, Reimbursements, applies.

If the individual has an open child support EDG with the OAG for children receiving Medicaid, the OAG processes medical support payments through an interface with HHSC/Third Party Recovery, and the individual does not receive a direct payment. If an individual is not referred to the OAG for services and is receiving or begins receiving cash medical support payments, the individual is required to remit the payments to the Third Party Recovery unit. Cash medical support payments that the individual receives and remits to Third Party Recovery are not counted. Any of the cash medical support payment from the absent parent that the individual continues to keep counts as income.

 

W—1411.6.3 Energy Assistance

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

Exempt energy assistance.

Exception: Count cash payments received from private nonprofit organizations as unearned income.

 

W—1411.6.4 Foster Care and Permanency Care Assistance (PCA) Payments

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

Foster care or permanency care payments are exempt.

Note: Do not include a person receiving foster care or permanency care payments in a budget or certified group.

 

W—1411.6.5 In-Kind Income

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

In-kind income is exempt.

 

W—1411.6.6 Interest

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

Interest counts as unearned income.

 

W—1411.6.7 Loans (Noneducational)

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

Financial assistance is considered a loan if:

  • there is an understanding that the individual will repay the money; and
  • the individual can reasonably explain how the loan will be repaid.

These loans are exempt from income. Contributions that are not considered loans are counted as unearned income.

 

W—1411.6.8 Pensions

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

A pension is any benefit derived from former employment (such as retirement benefits or a disability pension). A pension counts as unearned income.

 

W—1411.6.9 Trust Funds

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

Withdrawals or dividends that the household can receive from a trust fund that is exempt from resources count as unearned income.

 

W—1411.6.10 Resettlement-Reception and Placement (R&P)

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

R&P counts as income in the month received.

 

W—1411.6.11 Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA)

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

RCA counts as income in the month received.

 

W—1411.6.12 Match Grant

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

Count match grant as income in the month received.

 

W—1411.6.13 Spousal Diversion and Dependent Allowance

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

The portion of income from a spouse or parent in a nursing facility that is diverted to the family members living in the community counts as unearned income.

The spousal diversion and dependent allowance are determined by the Medicaid for the Elderly and People with Disabilities worker processing the application for nursing facility coverage. When nursing facility coverage is approved and disposed, the Texas Integrated Eligibility Redesign System (TIERS) will add this income in the community family member's approved Texas Works (TW) EDGs upon running Eligibility. Advisors do not make Data Collection entries for this income.

 

W—1411.6.14 Welfare-to-work Income

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

Welfare-to-work income is exempt.

 

W—1411.6.15 Alimony Received

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

Alimony received is counted as unearned income for the individual who received the payment.

 

W—1411.6.16 Annuity

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

An annuity is a series of payments paid under a contract and made at regular intervals over a period of more than one full year. Payments can be either fixed (under which one receives a definite amount) or variable (not fixed). An individual can buy the contract alone or with the help of an employer.

Annuity payments are counted as unearned income.

 

W—1411.6.17 Capital Gains

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

Capital gains are profit from the sale of property or of an investment when the sale price is higher than the initial purchase price (for example, profits from the sale of stocks, bonds, or from the sale of real estate).

Capital gains are exempt.

 

W—1411.6.18 Housing Allowance

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

Housing allowances are exempt.

 

W—1411.6.19 Life Estate

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

Life estate income is income an individual receives from ownership of property that an individual only possesses ownership of for the duration of one’s life (for example, rental income).

Life estate income is counted as unearned income.

 

W—1411.6.20 Jury Duty Pay

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

Jury duty pay is taxable income received from jury duty as compensation.

Jury duty pay is exempt.

 

W—1411.6.21 Court Awards

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

Court awards are taxable money that an individual receives as the result of a lawsuit (for example, compensation for lost wages or punitive damages awards).

Follow policy in W-1412.1, Lump-Sum Payments.

 

W—1411.6.22 Canceled Debt

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015  

 

Canceled debts are debts that have been canceled, forgiven, or discharged, and the canceled amount is included as countable income on federal income tax returns (for example, loan foreclosures or canceled credit card debt).

Canceled debt income is exempt.

 

W—1412 Types of Payments

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

 

W—1412.1 Lump-Sum Payments

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Lump sums received once a year or less are exempt, unless specifically listed as income. Note: Retroactive or restored payments are considered to be lump-sum payments and are exempt. Any portion that is ongoing income is separated from a lump-sum amount and counted as income.

Example: A person receives a lump-sum payment in the amount of $4,950 from the SSA in the month of March. Effective that same month, the person receives his first monthly RSDI payment of $950, which is included in the $4,950 lump-sum payment. Staff must budget the $950 RSDI payment beginning with the month of March as an ongoing payment and consider the $4,000 as a lump-sum payment.

A lump-sum payment counts as income in the month received if the individual gets it or expects to get it more often than once a year.

Exceptions: Contributions, gifts, and prizes count as unearned income in the month received, regardless of frequency of pay.

If a lump sum reimburses a household for burial, legal, medical bills or damaged/lost possessions, the countable amount of the lump sum is reduced by the amount earmarked for these items.

Federal tax refunds and EICs are exempt as income.

 

W—1412.2 Reimbursements

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

A reimbursement (not to exceed the individual's expense) is exempt if it is provided specifically for a past or future expense:

  • that is not included in HHSC's standard of need, or
  • for medical needs that are not paid by Medicaid.

If the reimbursement exceeds the individual's expenses, any excess counts as unearned income. A reimbursement to exceed the individual's expenses is not considered unless the individual or provider indicates the amount is excessive.

Note: A reimbursement for future expenses is exempt only if the individual plans to use it as intended.

 

W—1412.3 Third-Party Beneficiary

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Money an individual receives that is intended and used for maintenance of a nonmember is exempt.

If an individual receives a single payment for more than one beneficiary, the amount actually used for the nonmember is excluded up to the nonmember's identifiable portion or prorated portion, if the portion is not identifiable.

 

W—1412.4 Vendor Payments

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Payments that a person or organization outside the household makes directly to the individual's creditor or person providing the service are exempt.

Exception: Money legally obligated to the household, but which the payer makes to a third party for a household expense is counted as income.

Example: The absent parent is court-ordered to pay $400 a month. Instead, the absent parent pays $150 cash support and also pays $300 of the custodial parent's rent directly to the landlord for a total of $450. The $150 cash and $250 of the vendor-paid rent counts as child support, since that portion is legally obligated to the individual. The $50 amount over the legally obligated child support of $400 is considered an exempt vendor payment.

 

W—1413 Income Limits

Revision 17-2; Effective April 1, 2017

 

See the income limit for HTW (TA 41) in C-131.1, Federal Poverty Income Limits (FPIL).

 

W—1414 Calculating Household Income

Revision 17-2; Effective April 1, 2017

 

Use the policy in A-1350, Calculating Household Income, for TP 40, MA – Pregnant Women.

Exceptions:

  • Reasonable compatibility does not apply to HTW.
  • Budget expenses following the TANF and SNAP policy in Section A-1358, How to Budget Expenses.

 

W—1415 Determining Countable Income in Special Household Situations

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

Use the policy in A-1360, Determining Countable Income in Special Household Situations, for TP 40, MA – Pregnant Women.

 

W—1420 Adjunctive Eligibility

Revision 17-2; Effective April 1, 2017

 

Do not verify income or expenses if it is determined the applicant or recipient is adjunctively eligible. A woman is adjunctively eligible if in the application month or in the ninth month of the 12-month certification period she is included in an active:

  • SNAP EDG;
  • TANF EDG;
  • TP 08, MA - Parents and Caretaker Relatives EDG; or
  • Children's Medicaid EDG (TP 43, TP 44 and TP 48), including being an EDG name on a TP 45, MA – Newborn Children EDG.

Exception: A woman is not adjunctively eligible if the only services received in the month adjunctive eligibility is being determined are expedited SNAP benefits with postponed verification.

Adjunctive eligibility is determined at application and renewal. TIERS determines adjunctive eligibility and omits the income and expense pages if the applicant/individual is determined adjunctively eligible.

A woman can also be adjunctively eligible if it is verified that she or someone in her budget group received Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits in the HTW application month.

Note: At renewal, consider a woman adjunctively eligible for HTW if the household received WIC benefits in any of the last three months of the 12-month certification period.

 

W—1430 Reserved

Revision 13-1; Effective January 1, 2013

 

 

W—1431 Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Verification

Revision 17-2; Effective April 1, 2017

 

Use the following documents to verify WIC eligibility:

  • active WIC voucher;
  • verification of certification letter; or
  • active Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) shopping list.

WIC verification must be current. Verify that the applicant received WIC benefits in the HTW application month.

 

W—1432 Income Verification

Revision 17-2; Effective April 1, 2017

 

For proof/verification of income, accept a copy of any one or more of the following:

  • a paycheck stub issued in the last 60 days from the file date;
  • a copy of the most recent tax return;
  • the most recent Social Security statement or check;
  • the most recent child support check;
  • proof of self-employment;
  • a letter from an employer verifying current income and frequency of payment; or
  • the most recent proof of other income received.

Use the Children's Medicaid verification policy in A-1371, Verification Sources, and the additional sources listed below to verify the household income.

Additional income verification sources for HTW include:

  • the most recent child support check; and
  • C-820, Data Broker; C-825.14.1, OAG Child Support Data; C-832, Office of the Attorney General (OAG) Inquiry; and C-833, TXCSES Web Child Support Portal Inquiry.

When two or more consecutive pay stubs are submitted and the income amounts on the stubs are not identical, the eligibility determination is based on an average of the income reflected in the multiple pay stubs. Exclude pay stubs that appear to be non-representative when averaging.

When two or more non-consecutive pay stubs are submitted, if representative, the most recent pay stub is used to determine the income. If non-representative, use the next most recent representative pay stub.

Note: If possible, use the year-to-date method to determine the missing pay stub.

 

W—1440 Documentation Requirements

Revision 07-0; Effective July 1, 2007

 

Follow the current Medical Programs policy for documenting income in A-1380, Documentation Requirements.