150.3 Unearned Income

Unearned income includes, but is not limited to, the following:

NOTE:  If VEA benefits are equal to or greater than the family size allowance (FSA), the budget group is ineligible for Cash Assistance until VEA benefits are exhausted.

NOTE:  Money received by a veteran participating in the Compensated Work Therapy program is considered a donation. It is excluded income for Cash Assistance.

NOTE:  Interest earned on savings bonds, checking accounts, savings accounts, NOW and Super NOW accounts, money market accounts, Certificates of Deposit (CDs), and Christmas and vacation club accounts is not counted as unearned income or as a resource in the month of receipt. Interest that remains in an account after the month of receipt is considered a resource. See Section 140.3.      

55 Pa. Code § 183.31

NOTE:  Support arrearages count as unearned income even if the child for whom the support was paid is an adult no longer living in the TANF family.

NOTE:  When an insurance carrier sends payments directly to a person, it is important to review the policy’s terms and verify how the person uses the payments. For cash assistance, the CAO will count an insurance payment if the person receives the payment directly to use for any purpose, unless the person proves that he or she endorsed the check and gave it to a provider to pay medical bills.


Example 1: Mr. B. receives an insurance payment after his hospitalization. Medical Assistance (or private health insurance) is paying Mr. B.’s medical bills. The CAO reviews the insurance policy and finds that Mr. B. may use the insurance payment for any purpose. The payment counts as unearned income when Mr. B. applies for TANF for his family.

Example 2: Mr. B. receives an insurance check but does not have any other medical coverage. He gives the CAO proof that he endorsed the check and gave it to the hospital to pay his medical bills. The insurance payment does not count in determining TANF eligibility.

The CAO will consider the gross amount of unearned income when computing the budget group’s eligibility and monthly assistance payment. It must allow only the deductions incurred by the person to obtain the benefit. The CAO will verify and record in the case record all unearned income.      

55 Pa. Code § 183.98  

NOTE:  The CAO will count unearned income recouped for an overpayment (such as Unemployment Compensation, Social Security Disability, or Veterans Benefits) in the eligibility determination for cash assistance unless the recoupment amount was previously counted in the cash benefits eligibility determination. If it is unable to determine whether this income was counted, the CAO will not exclude the recouped amount.

NOTE:  A deduction is not given from Social Security benefits for Medicare. No deduction is made for taxes, medical insurance premiums, or support withheld from Workers' Compensation, Unemployment Compensation, or Retirement benefits.


PCA14455150 Individuals Receiving Veteran’s Benefits from Multiple Claims (Linked November 1, 2008)

PCA14456150 Individuals Receiving Social Security from Multiple Claims (Linked November 1, 2008)

PCA 16614-150 Unemployment Compensation (UC) Reduction (Linked April 23, 2013)

PCA 16615-150 Unemployment Compensation and Sequestration (Linked April 24, 2013)

PCA 15411150 Update on UC, EUC and EB in Pennsylvania (Linked August 2, 2010)

150.31 Support Payments

The CAO will count support paid by a legally responsible relative (LRR) or putative father for a child or a spouse. Support must be counted in determining eligibility whether it is court ordered, voluntary, paid directly to the person, or paid to DPW.      

An LRR is:   The spouse or biological or adoptive parent of a TANF dependent child or a TANF minor parent.

NOTE: A putative father is not an LRR.

55 Pa. Code § 183.32


In the month of application, the CAO will do the following:

NOTE:  If the person reports receipt of voluntary support from a putative father, ask the person to provide a statement or to get a statement from the putative father to verify that the payments are support. Consider the payment a contribution if the person does not provide the statement. See Section 150.32.

55 Pa. Code § 183.32(3)   

After the first budget month, the CAO will:

NOTE:  If a person fails to remit the voluntary support, the CAO will:

If a person fails to remit court-ordered support, complete an overpayment for the support received that was not counted in determining the monthly benefit amount. See Supplemental Handbook Chapter 910, Overpayment Recovery. Receipt of court-ordered support assigned to DPW should not occur often.

55 Pa. Code § 183.32(2)  

NOTE:  A court-ordered monthly support obligation is considered paid in the month it is due.

e-CIS generates a worker alert for each month the current support amount DPW collects is more than the monthly cash assistance grant. The CAO will determine Cash Assistance eligibility as soon as it gets the alert or other support income information. The CAO will take action no later than the second month after receiving the information.

Example: The CAO receives notice in October of support collected in September. It uses the information to redetermine eligibility no later than December. (See Section 168.71.)

If support income is recurring and results in ineligibility that is expected to last more than one month when counted for eligibility, the CAO will discontinue the assistance payment for the first payment day that can be met after proper notice. The legal reason for closing the case is the actual support collected. Case closing is appropriate if there is a basis to determine that future support collections will make the family ineligible.

Example: The CAO determines that the current support amount is more than the grant amount and there is an income attachment. It acts promptly to close the case.

NOTE:  A benefit adjustment is not required if current support income alone or in combination with other income results in ineligibility that appears to be an isolated occurrence for one month only.

55 Pa. Code § 183.32(4)

NOTE:  Request verification if voluntary support payments are counted as income and the sanctioned person reports that the payments have stopped. If the loss of support income cannot be verified and the statements of the payers and the sanctioned person disagree, accept the person’s statement and no longer count the income. The sanction no longer applies if the person was sanctioned due to receipt of direct support not paid to DPW.

55 Pa. Code § 183.32(6)

150.311 Excess Over Unreimbursed Assistance Refund Initiatives (EOURA)

Federal law mandated changes to the way DPW distributes child support collections. The Pennsylvania Child Support Enforcement System (PACSES) implemented the changes and began calculating unreimbursed assistance (URA).

URA is defined as the total amount of reimbursable assistance the family receives that has not been repaid by assigned current support, by arrears payments, or through reimbursement from other sources.

Total reimbursable assistance is defined as the basic cash assistance grant plus other reimbursable assistance a family receives in the month (child care, transportation, etc.).

The basic Cash Assistance Grant is the amount of assistance based on the family size, minus earned and unearned income adjustments. DPW may recover URA through the Title IV-D Child Support Enforcement Program in accordance with Title 23 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes §4378(b). See Appendix B, Excess over Unreimbursed Assistance (EOURA) Refund.

DPW has established a plan to calculate the URA and to distribute support collected by DPW in excess of the URA. The excess is called EOURA. DPW is now implementing automated computation and distribution in a monthly processing format.

EOURA refunds count as lump sum unearned income. See Section 157.51, Counting Lump Sum in the Month of Receipt. EOURA funds that remain after the month of receipt count as a resource. The CAO must review the case to determine whether the support received for the household will be more than the FSA in subsequent months. See Section 157.51.

NOTE:  The CAO should discuss with the person ways the EOURA refund could increase self-sufficiency, such as using the refund to buy reliable transportation or to start a family savings account to save for an education, to buy a home, or to start a business. Deposits and interest on a family savings account are exempt from consideration for the cash program. See Section 140.8, Other Excluded Resources.

Example: Mrs. J. receives Cash Assistance for herself and three children. There is no other household income. In June she receives an EOURA refund of $250. The CAO will count the $250 as a resource beginning in July.

If the EOURA refund combined with other resources causes the family to be ineligible in July due to excess resources, the cash assistance ends for the first payment date that can be reached following the month of receipt after proper notice.

150.32 Contributions

A countable cash contribution by a person other than a putative father or an LRR is unearned income. Code as either 28 (Lump sum , unearned) or 99 (Other income). A countable cash contribution by an LRR is support (coded 25). When a putative father makes a cash contribution, the caretaker/relative or putative father must acknowledge in writing that the contribution is support in order for the income to be handled according to support regulations. See Chapter 131, Support.      

55 Pa. Code § 183.33  

Exception: Do not count contributions such as gifts, loans, or borrowed money, up to $30 per person within the budget group per quarter. See Section 150.5, Income Excluded in Computing Eligibility.

NOTE:  If the putative father does not state in writing that a cash contribution is support, it counts as a contribution.

The CAO will adjust a countable cash contribution as unearned income.

150.33 Income of a Child

The CAO will count income of a child who is included in the budget group when determining eligibility. Examples of such income include, but are not limited to, the following:

Income that covers more than one child is considered available to each child in equal shares, unless the payer or court order specifies otherwise.

55 Pa. Code § 183.34(a)

The CAO will not count RSDI income of a child for the monthly assistance payment amount if the benefits are being paid to a representative payee:

55 Pa. Code § 183.34(d)

55 Pa. Code § 183.34(d)(2)

The CAO will not count income of a natural or adopted child under age 21 if the child is not included in the budget group and the income is paid to another person on the child’s behalf. This income is restricted to the child’s use. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:        

55 Pa. Code § 183.54

NOTE:  The CAO will not count a “Uniform Transfer to Minors Act” (UTMA) account, formerly known as “Uniform Gifts to Minors Act” (UGMA), also known as PUGMA or PUTMA in Pennsylvania. These funds do not count as income or a resource because a child, the owner of the account, cannot access the funds until age 21. The custodian who establishes and/or manages the child’s account is not the owner. The CAO does not consider the funds legally available, even if the custodian is a legally responsible relative (LRR). DPW does not require the funds to be withdrawn. If the custodian does withdraw funds for the child’s needs, the CAO will consider the funds as the child’s unearned income in the month withdrawn. When the child turns 21, the CAO will consider any funds remaining in the account(s) as an available resource.

If a child is removed from the budget group and he or she has income adjusted to the monthly assistance payment, the CAO must remove the child and income adjustment at the same time.

Exception: The CAO will count the income when deeming income available to the budget group if the child is living with the budget group and is a minor parent of a child in the budget group. See Chapter 155, Deeming Income and Resources.

Maintenance subsidies paid for a special needs child under the Adoption Opportunity Act and foster care payments are restricted to the child they are being paid for. See Section 150.5.        

55 Pa. Code § 183.81(17)          55 Pa. Code § 183.81(18)

See Section 150.5 for considering earned income of children who are members of the budget group.

150.34 Unearned Lump Sum Payments

Any nonrecurring unearned lump sum payment is considered income in the month when it is received. Unearned lump sum payments include, but are not limited to, the following:         

55 Pa. Code § 183.37       55 Pa. Code § 183.105(4)

See Chapter 157, Lump Sum.

150.35 Deemed Income

The CAO will deem income to the budget group from an LRR, parent of a TANF or minor parent, or stepparent who is living with the applicant or recipient and is not receiving TANF, GA, SBP, or SSI benefits.

The CAO will deem income to the budget group from an alien’s sponsor. See Chapter 155, Deeming Income and Resources.

55 Pa. Code § 183.35

55 Pa. Code § 183.36

150.36 Educational Assistance

The CAO will not count educational assistance from scholarships, grants, and loans.        

55 Pa. Code § 183.81(3)

NOTE:  In-kind scholarships that include free or reduced room and board do not count as income.

150.37 Rental Property Income

The CAO will count as unearned income any income from rental property managed by a rental agency or third party. The person must have no specific responsibility for management of the property or the capital investment.          

55 Pa. Code § 183.39

150.38 Cash Assistance Benefits from Another State, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands

The CAO will count cash assistance benefits from another state, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands in calculating the grant if the applicant actually received a partial benefit in the month of application. It must not count benefits paid by another state but not actually received by the applicant.     

55 Pa. Code § 183.31(a)   


Reissued September 17, 2014;  replacing  February 21, 2014