567.2 At Application

Prospective budgeting at application applies to all households. Prospective budgeting uses a best estimate of income, expenses, and circumstances in the issuance month  to determine the eligibility and benefit amount for the same issuance month.  The budget month and issuance month are the same  month in PB.   

55 Pa. Code 501.11(a)

The CAO will count income actually received or expected to be received during the application month, the next month, or both.

The CAO will determine a best estimate of expected income for the remaining semiannual reporting (SAR) or certification period.

If the household receives income or has expenses billed more frequently than monthly (weekly or every two weeks), the CAO must estimate the weekly amount and convert it to a monthly amount using the 4.0 multiplier. (See Section 567.22, Converting Income and Expenses)  

 55 Pa. Code 501.7(b)

NOTE:  The CAO must not convert new or terminated income if it is not received for a full month. The actual amount of income received in the month is used.

Example: A household expects to receive its last two weeks of unemployment compensation (UC) next month. The CAO must use the actual amount expected, to ensure the income used is not more than the household will receive.

567.21 Anticipating Income and Expenses

When anticipating income or expenses, the CAO must use the past 30 days as an indicator of future income unless a change has taken place or is expected.   

7 CFR 273. 10(c)

NOTE:  The CAO may use a period longer than 30 days to figure an average if that gives a better estimate of future income or expenses.

When a certification period is less than 12 months, the CAO may average yearly expenses, such as property taxes and insurance, over 12 months. The household does not have to be billed for expenses during the certification period. (See Chapter 560, Deductions)  

 7 CFR 273. 10(d)

NOTE:  The CAO must not count income if the amount or receipt date is uncertain.  

 7 CFR 273. 10(c)

Example: Mr. Lee and family apply for SNAP on September 5. He was injured on the job in June and is eligible for workers' compensation (WC). He does not know when he can return to work or when he will receive his WC benefits. The CAO does not count WC income or wages in determining eligibility and the benefit amount. The CAO enrolls the household in semiannual reporting (SAR) and tells the family to report monthly income of more than 130% of the federal poverty income guidelines by the 10th of the month after the month of the change.

The CAO must count wages held or advanced by an employer as follows:  

 7 CFR 273. 10(c)(2)(iii)

The CAO must count all payments, benefits, and income received monthly, even if mailing cycles result in two payments in one month and none in the next. This includes federal and state pensions, cash assistance benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, and Social Security payments.

567.22 Converting Income and Expenses

The CAO must convert income and expenses to a monthly amount (using the 4.0 multiplier) for income received or expenses billed weekly or biweekly and expected to continue for the whole month.  

 55 Pa. Code 501.7(b)

NOTE:  The CAO must determine an average weekly or biweekly amount if amounts vary.

Example: For the month of application, the household reports receipt of overtime pay. The overtime pay will not continue into the second month. The CAO must count the overtime pay in the month of application only and count income without the overtime pay to determine an average weekly amount for the remainder of the SAR or certification period.

NOTE:  The CAO must reduce amounts received every two weeks (biweekly) to a weekly amount before making the 4.0 conversion.

NOTE:  The CAO must not change income received or expenses billed twice each month (semimonthly) to a weekly amount.

Example: A combination cash assistance and SNAP household reports that it pays room rent of $60 every two weeks. The household reports to the CAO that $60 is paid out of each cash assistance check. Because the payment is semimonthly, it is not changed to a weekly amount. Total monthly rent expense is $120.

567.23 Averaging Income

The CAO must average income using the household's estimate of income changes expected to be received during the SAR or certification period.   

7 CFR 273.10(c)(3)

The CAO must:

NOTE:  The number of months used to figure out the average does not have to be the same as the number of months in the SAR or certification period.

The CAO may average income for the month of application and the 30-day period before the month of application if income is not expected to change. The CAO must use the average income amount for each month of the SAR or certification period.

The CAO must average the following types of income:   

7 CFR 273.10(c)(3)(ii)

NOTE:  Households that by contract receive their annual income in a period shorter than one year must have their income averaged over a 12-month period, provided they do not receive the income from the contract on an hourly or piecework basis.

NOTE:  The CAO must total the bonuses expected in the months during the SAR or certification period and divide the total by the number of months in the SAR or certification period. The result is the average income figure used for each month of the SAR or certification period. This average must be recalculated at renewal and in response to reported changes in income. The CAO must use the best estimate if an exact amount is not known and narrate how the best estimate was determined.

Exception:  The CAO must not average the income of destitute households. (See Chapter 516, Migrant Or Seasonal Farm Workers.)

Once the initial SNAP benefit is determined for a migrant or seasonal farm worker, the CAO must estimate income for the remaining certification period.

Example: A migrant household applies for SNAP benefits on October 20. The CAO must determine the benefit amount from October 20 through November 30 using the rules in Chapter 516, Migrant or Seasonal Farm workers. The CAO must determine SNAP benefits for December 1 through April 30 by counting income the household expects to receive for that period.

567.24 Counting Income That Stops

The CAO must count income that stops until it is no longer received. If the stopped income is not expected to be a full month of income and the household reports it in time for the CAO to make a change, the CAO must count only the income expected to be received in that month. The full amount of stopped income is removed the following month.    

 7 CFR 273.12(c)(1)

 At application, the CAO must count stopped income in the first or second month of eligibility until it is no longer received. The CAO must remove the stopped income for the remainder of the SAR or certification period.

The CAO must not use income if it is reported timely and starts and stops before it can be budgeted.

  55 Pa. Code § 501.11(e)(1)

Example: Ms. Robbins, who gets SNAP benefits, verifies on June 23 that she received her first and last pay on June 18. The CAO must disregard income, because it is not going to continue during the SAR or certification period.

Reminder:  The CAO must count nonrecurring lump sum payments as a resource, not as income.

  7 CFR § 273.10(c)(2)(i)

567.25 Counting Income From Temporary Employment Agencies

Earned income that starts and stops after several days and income from temporary employment agencies is treated differently.  A client who works out of one or more temporary employment agencies is considered employed unless work is not available.  The CAO must count income from temporary employment agencies when determining the monthly SNAP benefit amount.  The CAO must use recent work history and current work assignments to determine a best estimate of average gross monthly earned income.  The CAO must narrate the basis for determining the gross monthly income amount.

The CAO must tell households to report by the 10th day following the month of change:

7 CFR 273.2(f)(6)

7 CFR 273.10(c)

7 CFR 273.12(a)(i)(vii)

7 CFR 273.12(a)(1)(5)(v)

Reissued March 1, 2012 , replacing December 19, 2008