GFHA Administrative Plan for the Housing Choice Voucher Program
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Chapter 6: Income & Subsidy Determinations
[24 CFR Part 5, Subparts E and F; 24 CFR 982]
INTRODUCTION A family’s income determines eligibility for assistance and is also used to calculate the family’s payment and the PHA’s subsidy. The GFHA will use the policies and methods described in this chapter to ensure that only eligible families receive assistance and that no family pays more or less than its obligation under the regulations. This chapter describes HUD regulations and GFHA policies related to these topics in three parts as follows:
Part I: Annual Income. HUD regulations specify the sources of income to include and exclude to arrive at a family’s annual income. These requirements and PHA policies for calculating annual income are found in Part I. Part II: Adjusted Income. Once annual income has been established, HUD regulations require the PHA to subtract from annual income any of five mandatory deductions for which a family qualifies. These requirements and PHA policies for calculating adjusted income are found in Part II.
5.609 Annual income. (a) Annual income means all amounts, monetary or not, which: (1) Go to, or on behalf of, the family head or spouse (even if temporarily absent) or to any other family member; or (2) Are anticipated to be received from a source outside the family during the 12-month period following admission or annual reexamination effective date; and (3) Which are not specifically excluded in paragraph [5.609(c)]. (4) Annual income also means amounts derived (during the 12-month period) from assets to which any member of the family has access.
In addition to this general definition, HUD regulations establish policies for treating specific types of income and assets. The full texts of those portions of the regulations are provided in exhibits at the end of this chapter as follows:
Annual Income Inclusions (Exhibit 6-1)
Annual Income Exclusions (Exhibit 6-2)
Treatment of Family Assets (Exhibit 6-3)
Earned Income Disallowance for Persons with Disabilities (Exhibit 6-4)
The Effect of Welfare Benefit Reduction (Exhibit 6-5)
Sections 6-I.B and 6-I.C discuss general requirements and methods for calculating annual income. The rest of this section describes how each source of income is treated for the purposes of determining annual income. HUD regulations present income inclusions and exclusions separately [24 CFR 5.609(b) and 24 CFR 5.609(c)]. In this plan, however, the discussions of income inclusions and exclusions are integrated by topic (e.g., all policies affecting earned income are discussed together in section 6-I.D). Verification requirements for annual income are discussed in Chapter 7.
6-I.B.HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION AND INCOME Income received by all family members must be counted unless specifically excluded by the regulations. It is the responsibility of the head of household to report changes in family composition. The rules on which sources of income are counted vary somewhat by family member. The chart below summarizes how family composition affects income determinations.
Temporarily Absent Family Members The income of family members approved to live in the unit will be counted, even if the family member is temporarily absent from the unit [HCV GB, p. 5-18].
GFHA Policy Generally, an individual who is or is expected to be absent from the assisted unit for 180 consecutive days or less is considered temporarily absent and continues to be considered a family member.
Generally, an individual who is or is expected to be absent from the assisted unit for morethan 180 consecutive days is considered permanently absent and no longer a family member. Exceptions to this general policy are discussed below.
Absent Students GFHA Policy When someone who has been considered a family member attends school away from home, the person will continue to be considered a family member unless information becomes available to the GFHA indicating that the student has established a separate household or the family declares that the student has established a separate household.
Absences Due to Placement in Foster Care Children temporarily absent from the home as a result of placement in foster care are considered members of the family [24 CFR 5.403].
GFHA Policy If a child has been placed in foster care, the GFHA will verify with the appropriate agency whether and when the child is expected to be returned to the home. Unless the agency confirms that the child has been permanently removed from the home, the child will be counted as a family member.
Absent Head, Spouse, or Cohead GFHA Policy An employed head, spouse, or cohead absent from the unit for more than 180 consecutive days due to employment will continue to be considered a family member.
Family Members Permanently Confined for Medical Reasons If a family member is confined to a nursing home or hospital on a permanent basis, that person is no longer considered a family member and the income of that person is not counted [HCV GB, p. 5-22].
GFHA Policy The GFHA will request verification from a responsible medical professional and will use this determination. If the responsible medical professional cannot provide a determination, the person generally will be considered temporarily absent. The family may present evidence that the family member is confined on a permanent basis and request that the person not be considered a family member.
When an individual who has been counted as a family member is determined permanently absent, the family is eligible for the medical expense deduction only if the remaining head, spouse, or cohead qualifies as an elderly person or a person with disabilities.
Joint Custody of Dependents GFHA Policy Dependents that are subject to a joint custody arrangement will be considered a member of the family, if they live with the applicant or participant family 50 percent or more of the time. In cases where custody is divided equally (50/50), the GFHA will attempt to obtain a written statement from the parent not included on the application that they will not seek housing assistance including the same child on their application.
When more than one applicant or participant family is claiming the same dependents as family members, the family with primary custody at the time of the initial examination or reexamination will be able to claim the dependents. If there is a dispute about which family should claim them, the GFHA will make the determination based on available documents such as court orders, school records, or an IRS return showing which family has claimed the child for income tax purposes.
Caretakers for a Child GFHA Policy The approval of a caretaker is at the owner and GFHA’s discretion and subject to the owner and GFHA’s screening criteria. If neither a parent nor a designated guardian remains in a household receiving HCV assistance, the GFHA will take the following actions. (1)If a responsible agency has determined that another adult is to be brought into the assisted unit to care for a child for an indefinite period, the designated caretaker will not be considered a family member until a determination of custody or legal guardianship is made. (2)If a caretaker has assumed responsibility for a child without the involvement of a responsible agency or formal assignment of custody or legal guardianship, the caretaker will be treated as a visitor for 90 days. After the 90 days have elapsed, the caretaker will be considered a family member unless information is provided that would confirm that the caretaker’s role is temporary. In such cases the GFHA will extend the caretaker’s status as an eligible visitor. (3)At any time that custody or guardianship legally has been awarded to a caretaker, the housing choice voucher will be transferred to the caretaker. (4)During any period that a caretaker is considered a visitor, the income of the caretaker is not counted in annual income and the caretaker does not qualify the family for any deductions from income.
6-I.C.ANTICIPATING ANNUAL INCOME The PHA is required to count all income “anticipated to be received from a source outside the family during the 12-month period following admission or annual reexamination effective date” [24 CFR 5.609(a)(2)]. Policies related to anticipating annual income are provided below.
Basis of Annual Income Projection The PHA generally will use current circumstances to determine anticipated income for the coming 12-month period. HUD authorizes the PHA to use other than current circumstances to anticipate income when:
An imminent change in circumstances is expected [HCV GB, p. 5-17]
It is not feasible to anticipate a level of income over a 12-month period (e.g., seasonal or cyclic income) [24 CFR 5.609(d)]
The PHA believes that past income is the best available indicator of expected future income [24 CFR 5.609(d)]
PHAs are required to use HUD’s Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) system in its entirety as a third party source to verify employment and income information, and to reduce administrative subsidy payment errors in accordance with HUD administrative guidance [24 CFR 5.233(a)(2)]. HUD allows PHAs to use tenant-provided documents (pay stubs) to project income once EIV data has been received in such cases where the family does not dispute the EIV employer data and where the PHA does not determine it is necessary to obtain additional third-party data.
GFHA Policy When EIV is obtained and the family does not dispute the EIV employer data, the GFHA will use current tenant-provided documents to project annual income. When the tenant-provided documents are pay stubs, the GFHA will make every effort to obtain current and consecutive pay stubs dated within the last 60 days.
The GFHA will obtain written and/or oral third-party verification in accordance with the verification requirements and policy in Chapter 7 in the following cases:
If EIV or other UIV data is not available,
If the family disputes the accuracy of the EIV employer data, and/or
If the GFHA determines additional information is needed.
In such cases, the GFHA will review and analyze current data to anticipate annual income. In all cases, the family file will be documented with a clear record of the reason for the decision, and a clear audit trail will be left as to how the GFHA annualized projected income.
When the GFHA cannot readily anticipate income based upon current circumstances (e.g., in the case of seasonal employment, unstable working hours, or suspected fraud), the GFHA will review and analyze historical data for patterns of employment, paid benefits, and receipt of other income and use the results of this analysis to establish annual income.
Any time current circumstances are not used to project annual income, a clear rationale for the decision will be documented in the file. In all such cases the family may present information and documentation to the GFHA to show why the historic pattern does not represent the family’s anticipated income.
Known Changes in Income If the GFHA verifies an upcoming increase or decrease in income, annual income will be calculated by applying each income amount to the appropriate part of the 12-month period.
Example: An employer reports that a full-time employee who has been receiving $8/hour will begin to receive $8.25/hour in the eighth week after the effective date of the reexamination. In such a case the PHA would calculate annual income as follows: ($8/hour × 40 hours × 7 weeks) + ($8.25 × 40 hours × 45 weeks).
The family may present information that demonstrates that implementing a change before its effective date would create a hardship for the family. In such cases the GFHA will calculate annual income using current circumstances and then require an interim reexamination when the change actually occurs. This requirement will be imposed even if the GFHA’s policy on reexaminations does not require interim reexaminations for other types of changes.
When tenant-provided third-party documents are used to anticipate annual income, they will be dated within the last 60 days of the reexamination interview date.
Projecting Income In HUD’s EIV webcast of January 2008, HUD made clear that PHAs are not to use EIV quarterly wages to project annual income.
6-I.D.EARNED INCOME Types of Earned Income Included in Annual Income Wages and Related Compensation The full amount, before any payroll deductions, of wages and salaries, overtime pay, commissions, fees, tips and bonuses, and other compensation for personal services is included in annual income [24 CFR 5.609(b)(1)].
GFHA Policy For persons who regularly receive bonuses or commissions, the GFHA will verify and then average the amounts received for the two years preceding admission or reexamination. If only a one-year history is available, the GFHA will use the prior year amounts. In either case the family may provide, and the GFHA will consider, a credible justification for not using this history to anticipate future bonuses or commissions. If a new employee has not yet received any bonuses or commissions, the GFHA will count only the amount estimated by the employer. The file will be documented appropriately.
Some Types of Military Pay All regular pay, special pay and allowances of a member of the Armed Forces are counted [24 CFR 5.609(b)(8)] except for the special pay to a family member serving in the Armed Forces who is exposed to hostile fire [24 CFR 5.609(c)(7)].
Types of Earned Income Not Counted in Annual Income Temporary, Nonrecurring, or Sporadic Income[24 CFR 5.609(c)(9)] This type of income (including gifts) is not included in annual income. Sporadic income includestemporary payments from the U.S. Census Bureau for employment lasting no longer than 180 days [Notice PIH 2009-19].
GFHA Policy Sporadic income is income that is not received periodically and cannot be reliably predicted. For example, the income of an individual who works occasionally as a handyman would be considered sporadic if future work could not be anticipated and no historic, stable pattern of income existed.
Children’s Earnings Employment income earned by children (including foster children) under the age of 18 years is not included in annual income [24 CFR 5.609(c)(1)]. (See Eligibility chapter for a definition of foster children.)
Certain Earned Income of Full-Time Students Earnings in excess of $480 for each full-time student 18 years old or older (except for the head, spouse, or cohead) are not counted [24 CFR 5.609(c)(11)]. To be considered “full-time,” a student must be considered “full-time” by an educational institution with a degree or certificate program [HCV GB, p. 5-29].
Income of a Live-in Aide Income earned by a live-in aide, as defined in [24 CFR 5.403], is not included in annual income [24 CFR 5.609(c)(5)]. (See Eligibility chapter for a full discussion of live-in aides.)
Income Earned under Certain Federal Programs Income from some federal programs is specifically excluded from consideration as income [24 CFR 5.609(c)(17)], including:
Payments to volunteers under the Domestic Volunteer Services Act of 1973 (42 U.S.C. 5044(g), 5058)
Awards under the federal work-study program (20 U.S.C. 1087 uu)
Payments received from programs funded under Title V of the Older Americans Act of 1985 (42 U.S.C. 3056(f))
Allowances, earnings, and payments to AmeriCorps participants under the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12637(d))
Allowances, earnings, and payments to participants in programs funded under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2931)
Resident Service Stipend Amounts received under a resident service stipend are not included in annual income. A resident service stipend is a modest amount (not to exceed $200 per individual per month) received by a resident for performing a service for the PHA or owner, on a part-time basis, that enhances the quality of life in the development. Such services may include, but are not limited to, fire patrol, hall monitoring, lawn maintenance, resident initiatives coordination, and serving as a member of the PHA’s governing board. No resident may receive more than one such stipend during the same period of time [24 CFR 5.600(c)(8)(iv)].
State and Local Employment Training Programs Incremental earnings and benefits to any family member resulting from participation in qualifying state or local employment training programs (including training programs not affiliated with a local government) and training of a family member as resident management staff are excluded from annual income. Amounts excluded by this provision must be received under employment training programs with clearly defined goals and objectives and are excluded only for the period during which the family member participates in the training program [24 CFR 5.609(c)(8)(v)].
GFHA Policy The GFHA defines a training program as “a learning process with goals and objectives, generally having a variety of components, and taking place in a series of sessions over a period of time. It is designed to lead to a higher level of proficiency, and it enhances the individual’s ability to obtain employment. It may have performance standards to measure proficiency. Training may include, but is not limited to: (1) classroom training in a specific occupational skill, (2) on-the-job training with wages subsidized by the program, or (3) basic education” [expired Notice PIH 98-2, p. 3]. The GFHA defines incremental earnings and benefits as the difference between: (1) the total amount of welfare assistance and earnings of a family member prior to enrollment in a training program, and (2) the total amount of welfare assistance and earnings of the family member after enrollment in the program [expired Notice PIH 98-2, pp. 3–4].
In calculating the incremental difference, the GFHA will use as the pre-enrollment income the total annualized amount of the family member’s welfare assistance and earnings reported on the family’s most recently completed HUD-50058.
End of participation in a training program must be reported in accordance with the GFHA's interim reporting requirements.
HUD-Funded Training Programs Amounts received under training programs funded in whole or in part by HUD [24 CFR 5.609(c)(8)(i)] are excluded from annual income. Eligible sources of funding for the training include operating subsidy, Section 8 administrative fees, and modernization, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME program, and other grant funds received from HUD.
GFHA Policy To qualify as a training program, the program must meet the definition of training program provided above for state and local employment training programs.
Earned Income Tax Credit Earned income tax credit (EITC) refund payments received on or after January 1, 1991 (26 U.S.C. 32(j)), are excluded from annual income [24 CFR 5.609(c)(17)]. Although many families receive the EITC annually when they file taxes, an EITC can also be received throughout the year. The prorated share of the annual EITC is included in the employee’s payroll check.
Earned Income Disallowance The earned income disallowance for persons with disabilities is discussed in section 6-I.E below.
6-I.E.EARNED INCOME DISALLOWANCE FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES [24 CFR 5.617; Streamlining Final Rule (SFR) Federal Register 3/8/16] The earned income disallowance (EID) encourages people with disabilities to enter the workforce by not including the full value of increases in earned income for a period of time. The full text of 24 CFR 5.617 is included as Exhibit 6-4 at the end of this chapter. Eligibility criteria and limitations on the disallowance are summarized below.
Eligibility This disallowance applies only to individuals in families already participating in the HCV program (not at initial examination). To qualify, the family must experience an increase in annual income that is the result of one of the following events:
Employment of a family member who is a person with disabilities and who was previously unemployed for one or more years prior to employment. Previously unemployed includes a person who annually has earned not more than the minimum wage applicable to the community multiplied by 500 hours. The applicable minimum wage is the federal minimum wage unless there is a higher state or local minimum wage.
Increased earnings by a family member who is a person with disabilities and whose earnings increase during participation in an economic self-sufficiency or job-training program. A self-sufficiency program includes a program designed to encourage, assist, train, or facilitate the economic independence of HUD-assisted families or to provide work to such families [24 CFR 5.603(b)].
New employment or increased earnings by a family member who is a person with disabilities and who has received benefits or services under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or any other state program funded under Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act within the past six months. If the benefits are received in the form of monthly maintenance, there is no minimum amount. If the benefits or services are received in a form other than monthly maintenance, such as one-time payments, wage subsidies, or transportation assistance, the total amount received over the six-month period must be at least $500.
Calculation of the Disallowance Calculation of the earned income disallowance for an eligible member of a qualified family begins with a comparison of the member’s current income with his or her “baseline income.” The family member’s baseline income is his or her income immediately prior to qualifying for the EID. The family member’s baseline income remains constant throughout the period that he or she is participating in the EID.
Calculation Method Initial 12-Month Exclusion During the initial exclusion period of 12 consecutive months, the full amount (100 percent) of any increase in income attributable to new employment or increased earnings is excluded.
GFHA Policy The initial EID exclusion period will begin on the first of the month following the date an eligible member of a qualified family is first employed or first experiences an increase in earnings.
Second 12-Month Exclusion During the second exclusion period of 12 consecutive months, the PHA must exclude at least 50 percent of any increase in income attributable to employment or increased earnings.
GFHA Policy During the second 12-month exclusion period, the GFHA will exclude 50 percent of any increase in income attributable to new employment or increased earnings.
Lifetime Limitation The EID has a two-year (24-month) lifetime maximum. The two-year eligibility period begins at the same time that the initial exclusion period begins and ends 24 months later. During the 24-month period, an individual remains eligible for EID even if they begin to receive assistance from a different housing agency, move between public housing and Section 8 assistance, or have breaks in assistance.
6-I.F.BUSINESS INCOME [24 CFR 5.609(b)(2)] Annual income includes “the net income from the operation of a business or profession. Expenditures for business expansion or amortization of capital indebtedness shall not be used as deductions in determining net income. An allowance for depreciation of assets used in a business or profession may be deducted, based on straight line depreciation, as provided in Internal Revenue Service regulations. Any withdrawal of cash or assets from the operation of a business or profession will be included in income, except to the extent the withdrawal is reimbursement of cash or assets invested in the operation by the family” [24 CFR 5.609(b)(2)].
Business Expenses Net income is “gross income less business expense” [HCV GB, p. 5-19].
GFHA Policy To determine business expenses that may be deducted from gross income, the GFHA will use current applicable Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules for determining allowable business expenses [see IRS Publication 535], unless a topic is addressed by HUD regulations or guidance as described below.
Business Expansion HUD regulations do not permit the PHA to deduct gross income expenses for business expansion.
GFHA Policy Business expansion is defined as any capital expenditures made to add new business activities, to expand current facilities, or to operate the business in additional locations. For example, purchase of a street sweeper by a construction business for the purpose of adding street cleaning to the services offered by the business would be considered a business expansion. Similarly, the purchase of a property by a hair care business to open at a second location would be considered a business expansion.
Capital Indebtedness HUD regulations do not permit the PHA to deduct from gross income the amortization of capital indebtedness.
GFHA Policy Capital indebtedness is defined as the principal portion of the payment on a capital asset such as land, buildings, and machinery. This means the GFHA will allow as a business expense interest, but not principal, paid on capital indebtedness.
Negative Business Income If the net income from a business is negative, no business income will be included in annual income; a negative amount will not be used to offset other family income.
Withdrawal of Cash or Assets from a Business HUD regulations require the PHA to include in annual income the withdrawal of cash or assets from the operation of a business or profession unless the withdrawal reimburses a family member for cash or assets invested in the business by the family. GFHA Policy Acceptable investments in a business include cash loans and contributions of assets or equipment. For example, if a member of an assisted family provided an up-front loan of $2,000 to help a business get started, the GFHA will not count as income any withdrawals from the business up to the amount of this loan until the loan has been repaid. Investments do not include the value of labor contributed to the business without compensation.
Co-owned Businesses GFHA Policy If a business is co-owned with someone outside the family, the family must document the share of the business it owns. If the family’s share of the income is lower than its share of ownership, the family must document the reasons for the difference.
6-I.G.ASSETS [24 CFR 5.609(b)(3); 24 CFR 5.603(b)] Overview There is no asset limitation for participation in the HCV program. However, HUD requires that the PHA include in annual income the anticipated “interest, dividends, and other net income of any kind from real or personal property” [24 CFR 5.609(b)(3)]. This section discusses how the income from various types of assets is determined. For most types of assets, the PHA must determine the value of the asset in order to compute income from the asset. Therefore, for each asset type, this section discusses:
How the value of the asset will be determined
How income from the asset will be calculated
Exhibit 6-1 provides the regulatory requirements for calculating income from assets [24 CFR 5.609(b)(3)], and Exhibit 6-3 provides the regulatory definition of net family assets. This section begins with a discussion of general policies related to assets and then provides HUD rules and PHA policies related to each type of asset.
Optional policies for family self-certification of assets are found in Chapter 7.
General Policies Income from Assets The GFHA generally will use current circumstances to determine both the value of an asset and the anticipated income from the asset. As is true for all sources of income, HUD authorizes the PHA to use other than current circumstances to anticipate income when (1) an imminent change in circumstances is expected (2) it is not feasible to anticipate a level of income over 12 months or (3) the GFHA believes that past income is the best indicator of anticipated income. For example, if a family member owns real property that typically receives rental income but the property is currently vacant, the GFHA can take into consideration past rental income along with the prospects of obtaining a new tenant.
GFHA Policy Anytime current circumstances are not used to determine asset income, a clear rationale for the decision will be documented in the file. In such cases the family may present information and documentation to the GFHA to show why the asset income determination does not represent the family’s anticipated asset income.
Valuing Assets The calculation of asset income sometimes requires the PHA to make a distinction between an asset’s market value and its cash value.
The market value of an asset is its worth in the market (e.g., the amount a buyer would pay for real estate or the total value of an investment account).
The cash value of an asset is its market value less all reasonable amounts that would be incurred when converting the asset to cash.
GFHA Policy Reasonable costs that would be incurred when disposing of an asset include, but are not limited to, penalties for premature withdrawal, broker and legal fees, and settlement costs incurred in real estate transactions [HCV GB, p. 5-28].
Lump-Sum Receipts Payments that are received in a single lump sum, such as inheritances, capital gains, lottery winnings, insurance settlements, and proceeds from the sale of property, are generally considered assets, not income. However, such lump-sum receipts are counted as assets only if they are retained by a family in a form recognizable as an asset (e.g., deposited in a savings or checking account) [RHIIP FAQs]. (For a discussion of lump-sum payments that represent the delayed start of a periodic payment, most of which are counted as income, see sections 6-I.H and 6-I.I.)
Imputing Income from Assets [24 CFR 5.609(b)(3), Notice PIH 2012-29] When net family assets are $5,000 or less, the GFHA will include in annual income the actual income anticipated to be derived from the assets. When the family has net family assets in excess of $5,000, the GFHA will include in annual income the greater of (1) the actual income derived from the assets or (2) the imputed income. Imputed income from assets is calculated by multiplying the total cash value of all family assets by an average passbook savings rate as determined by the GFHA.
Note: The HUD field office no longer provides an interest rate for imputed asset income. The “safe harbor” is now for the PHA to establish a passbook rate within 0.75 percent of a national average.
The PHA must review its passbook rate annually to ensure that it remains within 0.75 percent of the national average.
GFHA Policy The GFHA initially set the imputed asset passbook rate at the national rate established by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The GFHA will review the passbook rate annually. The rate will not be adjusted unless the current GFHA rate is no longer within 0.75 percent of the national rate. If it is no longer within 0.75 percent of the national rate, the passbook rate will be set at the current national rate. The effective date of changes to the passbook rate will be determined at the time of the review.
Determining Actual Anticipated Income from Assets It may or may not be necessary for the PHA to use the value of an asset to compute the actual anticipated income from the asset. When the value is required to compute the anticipated income from an asset, the market value of the asset is used. For example, if the asset is a property for which a family receives rental income, the anticipated income is determined by annualizing the actual monthly rental amount received for the property; it is not based on the property’s market value. However, if the asset is a savings account, the anticipated income is determined by multiplying the market value of the account by the interest rate on the account.
Withdrawal of Cash or Liquidation of Investments Any withdrawal of cash or assets from an investment will be included in income except to the extent that the withdrawal reimburses amounts invested by the family. For example, when a family member retires, the amount received by the family from a retirement investment plan is not counted as income until the family has received payments equal to the amount the family member deposited into the retirement investment plan.
Jointly Owned Assets The regulation at 24 CFR 5.609(a)(4) specifies that annual income includes “amounts derived (during the 12-month period) from assets to which any member of the family has access.”
GFHA Policy If an asset is owned by more than one person and any family member has unrestricted access to the asset, the GFHA will count the full value of the asset. A family member has unrestricted access to an asset when he or she can legally dispose of the asset without the consent of any of the other owners.
If an asset is owned by more than one person, including a family member, but the family member does not have unrestricted access to the asset, the GFHA will prorate the asset according to the percentage of ownership. If no percentage is specified or provided for by state or local law, the GFHA will prorate the asset evenly among all owners.
Assets Disposed of for Less than Fair Market Value [24 CFR 5.603(b)] HUD regulations require the PHA to count as a current asset any business or family asset that was disposed of for less than fair market value during the two years prior to the effective date of the examination/reexamination, except as noted below.
Minimum Threshold The HCV Guidebook permits the PHA to set a threshold below which assets disposed of for less than fair market value will not be counted [HCV GB, p. 5-27].
GFHA Policy The GFHA will not include the value of assets disposed of for less than fair market value unless the cumulative fair market value of all assets disposed of during the past two years exceeds the gross amount received for the assets by more than $1,000. When the two-year period expires, the income assigned to the disposed asset(s) also expires. If the two-year period ends between annual recertifications, the family may request an interim recertification to eliminate consideration of the asset(s). Assets placed by the family in nonrevocable trusts are considered assets disposed of for less than fair market value except when the assets placed in trust were received through settlements or judgments.
Separation or Divorce The regulation also specifies that assets are not considered disposed of for less than fair market value if they are disposed of as part of a separation or divorce settlement and the applicant or tenant receives important consideration not measurable in dollar terms.
GFHA Policy All assets disposed of as part of a separation or divorce settlement will be considered assets for which important consideration not measurable in monetary terms has been received. In order to qualify for this exemption, a family member must be subject to a formal separation or divorce settlement agreement established through arbitration, mediation, or court order.
Foreclosure or Bankruptcy Assets are not considered disposed of for less than fair market value when the disposition is the result of a foreclosure or bankruptcy sale.
Family Declaration GFHA Policy Families must sign a declaration form at initial certification and each annual recertification identifying all assets that have been disposed of for less than fair market value or declaring that no assets have been disposed of for less than fair market value. The GFHA may verify the value of the assets disposed of if other information available to the GFHA does not appear to agree with the information reported by the family.
Types of Assets Checking and Savings Accounts For regular checking accounts and savings accounts, cash value has the same meaning as market value. If a checking account does not bear interest, the anticipated income from the account is zero.
GFHA Policy In determining the value of checking accounts and savings accounts, the PHA will use the current balance for savings accounts, and the average monthly balance in checking accounts for the last 6 months.
In determining the anticipated income from an interest-bearing checking or savings account, the GFHA will multiply the value of the account by the current rate of interest paid on the account.
Investment Accounts Such as Stocks, Bonds, Saving Certificates, and Money Market Funds Interest or dividends earned by investment accounts are counted as actual income from assets even when the earnings are reinvested. The cash value of such an asset is determined by deducting from the market value any broker fees, penalties for early withdrawal, or other costs of converting the asset to cash.
GFHA Policy In determining the market value of an investment account, the GFHA will use the value of the account on the most recent investment report. How anticipated income from an investment account will be calculated depends on whether the rate of return is known. For assets that are held in an investment account with a known rate of return (e.g., savings certificates), asset income will be calculated based on that known rate (market value multiplied by rate of earnings).
When the anticipated rate of return is not known (e.g., stocks), the GFHA will calculate asset income based on the earnings for the most recent reporting period.
Equity in Real Property or Other Capital Investments Equity (cash value) in a property or other capital asset is the estimated current market value of the asset less the unpaid balance on all loans secured by the asset and reasonable costs (such as broker fees) that would be incurred in selling the asset [HCV GB, p. 5-25].
GFHA Policy In determining the equity, the GFHA will determine market value by examining recent sales of at least three properties in the surrounding or similar neighborhood that possess comparable factors that affect market value. The GFHA will first use the payoff amount for the loan (mortgage) as the unpaid balance to calculate equity. If the payoff amount is not available, the GFHA will use the basic loan balance information to deduct from the market value in the equity calculation.
Equity in real property and other capital investments is considered in the calculation of asset income except for the following types of assets:
Equity accounts in HUD homeownership programs [24 CFR5.603(b)]
The value of a home currently being purchased with assistance under the HCV program Homeownership Option for the first 10 years after the purchase date of the home [24 CFR 5.603(b), Notice PIH 2012-3]
Equity in owner-occupied cooperatives and manufactured homes in which the family lives [HCV GB, p. 5-25]
Equity in real property when a family member’s main occupation is real estate [HCV GB, p. 5-25]. This real estate is considered a business asset, and income related to this asset will be calculated as described in section 6-I.F.
Interests in Indian Trust lands [24 CFR 5.603(b)]
Real property and capital assets that are part of an active business or farming operation [HCV GB, p. 5-25]
The PHA must also deduct from the equity the reasonable costs for converting the asset to cash. Using the formula for calculating equity specified above, the net cash value of real property is the market value minus the balance of the loan (mortgage) minus the expenses to convert to cash [Notice PIH 2012-3].
GFHA Policy For the purposes of calculating expenses to convert to cash for real property, the GFHA will use ten percent of the market value of the home. A family may have real property as an asset in two ways: (1) owning the property itself and (2) holding a mortgage or deed of trust on the property. In the case of a property owned by a family member, the anticipated asset income generally will be in the form of rent or other payment for the use of the property. If the property generates no income, actual anticipated income from the asset will be zero. In the case of a mortgage or deed of trust held by a family member, the outstanding balance (unpaid principal) is the cash value of the asset. The interest portion only of payments made to the family in accordance with the terms of the mortgage or deed of trust is counted as anticipated asset income.
GFHA Policy In the case of capital investments owned jointly with others not living in a family’s unit, a prorated share of the property’s cash value will be counted as an asset unless the GFHA determines that the family receives no income from the property and is unable to sell or otherwise convert the asset to cash.
Trusts A trust is a legal arrangement generally regulated by state law in which one party (the creator or grantor) transfers property to a second party (the trustee) who holds the property for the benefit of one or more third parties (the beneficiaries).
Revocable Trusts If any member of a family has the right to withdraw the funds in a trust, the value of the trust is considered an asset [HCV GB, p. 5-25]. Any income earned as a result of investment of trust funds is counted as actual asset income, whether the income is paid to the family or deposited in the trust.
Nonrevocable Trusts In cases where a trust is not revocable by, or under the control of, any member of a family, the value of the trust fund is not considered an asset. However, any income distributed to the family from such a trust is counted as a periodic payment or a lump-sum receipt, as appropriate [24 CFR 5.603(b)]. (Periodic payments are covered in section 6-I.H. Lump-sum receipts are discussed earlier in this section.)
Retirement Accounts Company Retirement/Pension Accounts In order to correctly include or exclude as an asset any amount held in a company retirement or pension account by an employed person, the GFHA must know whether the money is accessible before retirement [HCV GB, p. 5-26].
While a family member is employed, only the amount the family member can withdraw without retiring or terminating employment is counted as an asset [HCV GB, p. 5-26].
After a family member retires or terminates employment, any amount distributed to the family member is counted as a periodic payment or a lump-sum receipt, as appropriate [HCV GB, p. 5-26], except to the extent that it represents funds invested in the account by the family member. (For more on periodic payments, see section 6-I.H.) The balance in the account is counted as an asset only if it remains accessible to the family member.
IRA, Keogh, and Similar Retirement Savings Accounts IRA, Keogh, and similar retirement savings accounts are counted as assets even though early withdrawal would result in a penalty [HCV GB, p. 5-25].
Personal Property Personal property held as an investment, such as gems, jewelry, coin collections, antique cars, etc., is considered an asset [HCV GB, p. 5-25].
GFHA Policy In determining the value of personal property held as an investment, the GFHA will use the family’s estimate of the value. The GFHA may obtain an appraisal to confirm the value of the asset if there is reason to believe that the family’s estimated value is off by $50 or more. The family must cooperate with the appraiser, but cannot be charged any costs related to the appraisal. Generally, personal property held as an investment generates no income until it is disposed of. If regular income is generated (e.g., income from renting the personal property), the amount that is expected to be earned in the coming year is counted as actual income from the asset. Necessary items of personal property are not considered assets [24 CFR 5.603(b)].
GFHA Policy Necessary personal property consists of only those items not held as an investment, and may include clothing, furniture, household furnishings, jewelry, and vehicles, including those specially equipped for persons with disabilities.
Life Insurance The cash value of a life insurance policy available to a family member before death, such as a whole life or universal life policy, is included in the calculation of the value of the family’s assets [HCV GB 5-25]. The cash value is the surrender value. If such a policy earns dividends or interest that the family could elect to receive, the anticipated amount of dividends or interest is counted as income from the asset whether or not the family actually receives it.
6-I.H.PERIODIC PAYMENTS Periodic payments are forms of incomereceived on a regular basis. HUD regulations specify periodic payments that are and are not included in annual income.
Periodic Payments Included in Annual Income
Periodic payments from sources such as social security, unemployment and welfare assistance, annuities, insurance policies, retirement funds, and pensions. However, periodic payments from retirement accounts, annuities, and similar forms of investments are counted only after they exceed the amount contributed by the family [24 CFR 5.609(b)(4) and (b)(3)].
Disability or death benefits and lottery receipts paid periodically, rather than in a single lump sum [24 CFR 5.609(b)(4) and HCV, p. 5-14].
Lump-Sum Payments for the Delayed Start of a Periodic Payment Most lump-sums received as a result of delays in processing periodic payments, such as unemployment or welfare assistance, are counted as income. However, lump-sum receipts for the delayed start of periodic social security or supplemental security income (SSI) payments are not counted as income. Additionally, any deferred disability benefits that are received in a lump-sum or in prospective monthly amounts from the Department of Veterans Affairs are to be excluded from annual income [24 CFR 5.609(c)(14)].
GFHA Policy When a delayed-start payment is received and reported during the period in which the GFHA is processing an annual reexamination, the GFHA will adjust the family share and GFHA subsidy retroactively for the period the payment was intended to cover. The family may pay in full any amount due or request to enter into a repayment agreement with the GFHA.
Treatment of Overpayment Deductions from Social Security Benefits The GFHA must make a special calculation of annual income when the Social Security Administration (SSA) overpays an individual, resulting in a withholding or deduction from his or her benefit amount until the overpayment is paid in full. The amount and duration of the withholding will vary depending on the amount of the overpayment and the percent of the benefit rate withheld. Regardless of the amount withheld or the length of the withholding period, the GFHA must use the reduced benefit amount after deducting only the amount of the overpayment withholding from the gross benefit amount [Notice PIH 2018-24].
Periodic Payments Excluded from Annual Income
Payments received for the care of foster children or foster adults (usually persons with disabilities, unrelated to the assisted family, who are unable to live alone) [24 CFR 5.609(c)(2)]. Kinship guardianship assistance payments (Kin-GAP) and other similar guardianship payments are treated the same as foster care payments and are likewise excluded from annual income [Notice PIH 2012-1].
GFHA Policy The GFHA will exclude payments for the care of foster children and foster adults only if the care is provided through an official arrangement with a local welfare agency [HCV GB, p. 5-18].
Amounts paid by a state agency to a family with a member who has a developmental disability and is living at home to offset the cost of services and equipment needed to keep the developmentally disabled family member at home [24 CFR 5.609(c)(16)].
Amounts received under the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (42 U.S.C. 1626(c)) [24 CFR 5.609(c)(17)].
Amounts received under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858q) [24 CFR 5.609(c)(17)].
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) refund payments (26 U.S.C. 32(j)) [24 CFR 5.609(c)(17)]. Note: EITC may be paid periodically if the family elects to receive the amount due as part of payroll payments from an employer.
Lump-sums received as a result of delays in processing Social Security and SSI payments (see section 6-I.H.) [24 CFR 5.609(c)(14)].
Lump-sums or prospective monthly amounts received as deferred disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) [24 CFR 5.609(c)(14)].
6-I.I.PAYMENTS IN LIEU OF EARNINGS Payments in lieu of earnings, such as unemployment and disability compensation, worker’s compensation, and severance pay, are counted as income [24 CFR 5.609(b)(5)] if they are received either in the form of periodic payments or in the form of a lump-sum amount or prospective monthly amounts for the delayed start of a periodic payment. If they are received in a one-time lump sum (as a settlement, for instance), they are treated as lump-sum receipts [24 CFR 5.609(c)(3)]. (See also the discussion of periodic payments in section 6-I.H and the discussion of lump-sum receipts in section 6-I.G.)
6-I.J.WELFARE ASSISTANCE Overview Welfare assistance is counted in annual income. Welfare assistance includes Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and any payments to individuals or families based on need that are made under programs funded separately or jointly by federal, state, or local governments [24 CFR 5.603(b)].
Sanctions Resulting in the Reduction of Welfare Benefits [24 CFR 5.615] The PHA must make a special calculation of annual income when the welfare agency imposes certain sanctions on certain families. The full text of the regulation at 24 CFR 5.615 is provided as Exhibit 6-5. The requirements are summarized below. This rule applies only if a family was receiving HCV assistance at the time the sanction was imposed.
Covered Families The families covered by 24 CFR 5.615 are those “who receive welfare assistance or other public assistance benefits (‘welfare benefits’) from a State or other public agency (’welfare agency’) under a program for which Federal, State or local law requires that a member of the family must participate in an economic self-sufficiency program as a condition for such assistance” [24 CFR 5.615(b)]
Imputed Income When a welfare agency imposes a sanction that reduces a family’s welfare income because the family commits fraud or fails to comply with the agency’s economic self-sufficiency program or work activities requirement, the PHA must include in annual income “imputed” welfare income. The PHA must request that the welfare agency provide the reason for the reduction of benefits and the amount of the reduction of benefits. The imputed welfare income is the amount that the benefits were reduced as a result of the sanction.
This requirement does not apply to reductions in welfare benefits: (1) at the expiration of the lifetime or other time limit on the payment of welfare benefits, (2) if a family member is unable to find employment even though the family member has complied with the welfare agency economic self-sufficiency or work activities requirements, or (3) because a family member has not complied with other welfare agency requirements [24 CFR 5.615(b)(2)].
Offsets The amount of the imputed welfare income is offset by the amount of additional income the family begins to receive after the sanction is imposed. When the additional income equals or exceeds the imputed welfare income, the imputed income is reduced to zero [24 CFR 5.615(c)(4)].
6-I.K.PERIODIC AND DETERMINABLE ALLOWANCES [24 CFR 5.609(b)(7)] Annual income includes periodic and determinable allowances, such as alimony and child support payments, and regular contributions or gifts received from organizations or from persons not residing with an assisted family.
Alimony and Child Support The PHA must count alimony or child support amounts awarded as part of a divorce or separation agreement.
GFHA Policy The GFHA will count court-awarded amounts for alimony and child support unless the GFHA verifies that: (1) the payments are not being made, and (2) the family has made reasonable efforts to collect amounts due, including filing with courts or agencies responsible for enforcing payments [HCV GB, pp. 5-23 and 5-47].
Families who do not have court-awarded alimony and child support awards are not required to seek a court award and are not required to take independent legal action to obtain collection.
Regular Contributions or Gifts The PHA must count as income regular monetary and nonmonetary contributions or gifts from persons not residing with an assisted family [24 CFR 5.609(b)(7)]. Temporary, nonrecurring, or sporadic income and gifts are not counted [24 CFR 5.609(c)(9)].
GFHA Policy Examples of regular contributions include: (1) regular payment of a family’s bills (e.g., utilities, telephone, rent, credit cards, and car payments), (2) cash or other liquid assets provided to any family member on a regular basis, and (3) “in-kind” contributions such as groceries and clothing provided to a family on a regular basis.
Nonmonetary contributions will be valued at the cost of purchasing the items, as determined by the GFHA. For contributions that may vary from month to month (e.g., utility payments), the GFHA will include an average amount based upon past history.
6-I.L. STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE [24 CFR 5.609(b)(9); Notice PIH 2015-21] In 2005, Congress passed a law (for Section 8 programs only) requiring that certain student financial assistance be included in annual income. Prior to that, the full amount of student financial assistance was excluded. For some students, the full exclusion still applies.
Student Financial Assistance Included in Annual Income [24 CFR 5.609(b)(9); FR 4/10/06; Notice PIH 2015-21] The regulation requiring the inclusion of certain student financial assistance applies only to students who satisfy all of the following conditions:
They are enrolled in an institution of higher education, as defined under the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965.
They are seeking or receiving Section 8 assistance on their own—that is, apart from their parents—through the HCV program, the project-based voucher program, or the moderate rehabilitation program.
They are under 24 years of age OR they have no dependent children.
For students who satisfy these three conditions, any financial assistance in excess of tuition and any other required fees and charges received: (1) under the 1965 HEA, (2) from a private source, or (3) from an institution of higher education, as defined under the 1965 HEA, must be included in annual income.
To determine annual income in accordance with the above requirements, the PHA will use the definitions of dependent child, institution of higher education, and parents in section 3-II.E, along with the following definitions [FR 4/10/06, pp. 18148-18150]:
Assistance under the Higher Education Act of 1965 includes Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Academic Achievement Incentive Scholarships, State Assistance under the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program, the Robert G. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program, and Federal Work Study programs.
Assistance from private sources means assistance from nongovernmental sources, including parents, guardians, and other persons not residing with the student in an HCV assisted unit.
Tuitionand fees are defined in the same manner in which the Department of Education defines tuition and fees [Notice PIH 2015-21].
This is the amount of tuition and required fees covering a full academic year most frequently charged to students.
The amount represents what a typical student would be charged and may not be the same for all students at an institution.
If tuition is charged on a per-credit-hour basis, the average full-time credit hour load for an academic year is used to estimate average tuition.
Required fees include all fixed-sum charges that are required of a large proportion of all students. Examples include, but are not limited to, writing and science lab fees and fees specific to the student’s major or program (i.e., nursing program).
Expenses related to attending an institution of higher education must not be included as tuition. Examples include, but are not limited to, room and board, books, supplies, meal plans, transportation and parking, student health insurance plans, and other non-fixed-sum charges.
Student Financial Assistance Excluded from Annual Income [24 CFR 5.609(c)(6)] Any student financial assistance not subject to inclusion under 24 CFR 5.609(b)(9) is fully excluded from annual income under 24 CFR 5.609(c)(6), whether it is paid directly to the student or to the educational institution the student is attending. This includes any financial assistance received by:
Students residing with parents who are seeking or receiving Section 8 assistance
Students who are enrolled in an educational institution that does not meet the 1965 HEA definition of institution of higher education
Students who are over 23 AND have at least one dependent child, as defined in section 3II.E
Students who are receiving financial assistance through a governmental program not authorized under the 1965 HEA.
6-I.M.ADDITIONAL EXCLUSIONS FROM ANNUAL INCOME Other exclusions contained in 24 CFR 5.609(c) that have not been discussed earlier in this chapter include the following:
Reimbursement of medical expenses [24 CFR 5.609(c)(4)]
Amounts received by participants in other publicly assisted programs which are specifically for or in reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses incurred and which are made solely to allow participation in a specific program [24 CFR 5.609(c)(8)(iii)]
Amounts received by a person with a disability that are disregarded for a limited time for purposes of Supplemental Security Income eligibility and benefits because they are set aside for use under a Plan to Attain Self-Sufficiency (PASS) [(24 CFR 5.609(c)(8)(ii)]
Reparation payments paid by a foreign government pursuant to claims filed under the laws of that government by persons who were persecuted during the Nazi era [24 CFR 5.609(c)(10)]
Adoption assistance payments in excess of $480 per adopted child [24 CFR 5.609(c)(12)]
Refunds or rebates on property taxes paid on the dwelling unit [24 CFR 5.609(c)(15)]
Amounts paid by a state agency to a family with a member who has a developmental disability and is living at home to offset the cost of services and equipment needed to keep the developmentally disabled family member at home [24 CFR 5.609(c)(16)]
Amounts specifically excluded by any other federal statute [24 CFR 5.609(c)(17), FR Notice 5/20/14]. HUD publishes an updated list of these exclusions periodically. It includes:
The value of the allotment provided to an eligible household under the Food Stamp Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 2017 (b))
Benefits under Section 1780 of the School Lunch Act and Child Nutrition Act of 1966, including WIC
Payments to volunteers under the Domestic Volunteer Services Act of 1973 (42 U.S.C. 5044(g), 5058)
Payments received under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1626(c))
Income derived from certain submarginal land of the United States that is held in trust for certain Indian tribes (25 U.S.C. 459e)
Payments or allowances made under the Department of Health and Human Services’ Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (42 U.S.C. 8624(f))
Payments received under programs funded in whole or in part under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2931)
Deferred disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, whether received as a lump sum or in monthly prospective amounts
Income derived from the disposition of funds to the Grand River Band of Ottawa Indians (Pub. L. 94-540, 90 Stat. 2503-04)
Payments, funds, or distributions authorized, established, or directed by the Seneca Nation Settlement Act of 1990 (25 U.S.C. 1774f(b))
A lump sum or periodic payment received by an individual Indian pursuant to the Class Action Settlement Agreement in the United States District Court case entitled Elouise Cobell et al. v. Ken Salazar et al., for a period of one year from the time of receipt of that payment as provided in the Claims Resolution Act of 2010
The first $2,000 of per capita shares received from judgment funds awarded by the Indian Claims Commission or the U. S. Claims Court, the interests of individual Indians in trust or restricted lands, including the first $2,000 per year of income received by individual Indians from funds derived from interests held in such trust or restricted lands (25 U.S.C. 1407-1408)
Benefits under the Indian Veterans Housing Opportunity Act of 2010 (only applies to Native American housing programs)
Payments received from programs funded under Title V of the Older Americans Act of 1985 (42 U.S.C. 3056(f))
Payments received on or after January 1, 1989, from the Agent Orange Settlement Fund or any other fund established pursuant to the settlement in In Re AgentOrange product liability litigation, M.D.L. No. 381 (E.D.N.Y.)
Payments received under 38 U.S.C. 1833(c) to children of Vietnam veterans born with spinal bifida, children of women Vietnam veterans born with certain birth defects, and children of certain Korean service veterans born with spinal bifida
Payments received under the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980 (25 U.S.C. 1721)
The value of any child care provided or arranged (or any amount received as payment for such care or reimbursement for costs incurred for such care) under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858q)
Earned income tax credit (EITC) refund payments received on or after January 1, 1991 (26 U.S.C. 32(j))
Payments by the Indian Claims Commission to the Confederated Tribes and Bands of Yakima Indian Nation or the Apache Tribe of Mescalero Reservation (Pub. L. 95-433)
Amounts of scholarships funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965j, including awards under federal work-study programs or under the Bureau of Indian Affairs student assistance programs (20 U.S.C. 1087uu). For Section 8 programs, the exception found in § 237 of Public Law 109–249 applies and requires that the amount of financial assistance in excess of tuition and mandatory fees shall be considered income in accordance with the provisions codified at 24 CFR 5.609(b)(9), except for those persons with disabilities as defined by 42 U.S.C. 1437a(b)(3)(E) (Pub. L. 109–249) (See See Section 6-I.L. for exceptions.)
Allowances, earnings and payments to AmeriCorps participants under the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12637(d))
Any amount of crime victim compensation (under the Victims of Crime Act) received through crime victim assistance (or payment or reimbursement of the cost of such assistance) as determined under the Victims of Crime Act because of the commission of a crime against the applicant under the Victims of Crime Act (42 U.S.C. 10602)
Any amounts in an "individual development account" as provided by the Assets for Independence Act, as amended in 2002
Payments made from the proceeds of Indian tribal trust cases as described in Notice PIH 2013–30, "Exclusion from Income of Payments under Recent Tribal Trust Settlements" (25 U.S.C. 117b(a))
Major disaster and emergency assistance received under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act and comparable disaster assistance provided by states, local governments, and disaster assistance organizations
Distributions from an ABLE account, and actual or imputed interest on the ABLE account balance