7 U.S.C. § 2014 - U.S. Code - Unannotated Title 7. Agriculture § 2014. Eligible households

(a) Income and other financial resources as substantial limiting factors in obtaining more nutritious diet;  recipients under Social Security Act

Participation in the supplemental nutrition assistance program shall be limited to those households whose incomes and other financial resources, held singly or in joint ownership, are determined to be a substantial limiting factor in permitting them to obtain a more nutritious diet.  Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter except subsections (b) , (d)(2) , (g) , and (r) of section 2015 of this title and section 2012(n)(4) of this title, households in which each member receives benefits under a State program funded under part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act ( 42 U.S.C. 601 et seq. ), supplemental security income benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, or aid to the aged, blind, or disabled under Title I, X, XIV, or XVI of the Social Security Act, shall be eligible to participate in the supplemental nutrition assistance program.  Except for sections 2015 , 2025(e)(1) , and section 2012(n)(4) of this title, households in which each member receives benefits under a State or local general assistance program that complies with standards established by the Secretary for ensuring that the program is based on income criteria comparable to or more restrictive than those under subsection (c)(2) of this section, and not limited to one-time emergency payments that cannot be provided for more than one consecutive month, shall be eligible to participate in the supplemental nutrition assistance program.  Assistance under this program shall be furnished to all eligible households who make application for such participation.

(b) Eligibility standards

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the Secretary shall establish uniform national standards of eligibility (other than the income standards for Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the Virgin Islands of the United States established in accordance with subsections (c) and (e) of this section) for participation by households in the supplemental nutrition assistance program in accordance with the provisions of this section.  No plan of operation submitted by a State agency shall be approved unless the standards of eligibility meet those established by the Secretary, and no State agency shall impose any other standards of eligibility as a condition for participating in the program.

(c) Gross income standard

The income standards of eligibility shall be adjusted each October 1 and shall provide that a household shall be ineligible to participate in the supplemental nutrition assistance program if--

(1)  the household's income (after the exclusions and deductions provided for in subsections (d) and (e) of this section) exceeds the poverty line, as defined in section 673(2) of the Community Services Block Grant Act ( 42 U.S.C. 9902(2) ), for the forty-eight contiguous States and the District of Columbia, Alaska, Hawaii, the Virgin Islands of the United States, and Guam, respectively;  and

(2)  in the case of a household that does not include an elderly or disabled member, the household's income (after the exclusions provided for in subsection (d) of this section but before the deductions provided for in subsection (e) of this section) exceeds such poverty line by more than 30 per centum.

In no event shall the standards of eligibility for the Virgin Islands of the United States or Guam exceed those in the forty-eight contiguous States.

(d) Exclusions from income

Household income for purposes of the supplemental nutrition assistance program shall include all income from whatever source excluding only--

(1)  any gain or benefit which is not in the form of money payable directly to a household (notwithstanding its conversion in whole or in part to direct payments to households pursuant to any demonstration project carried out or authorized under Federal law including demonstration projects created by the waiver of provisions of Federal law);

(2)  any income in the certification period which is received too infrequently or irregularly to be reasonably anticipated, but not in excess of $30 in a quarter, subject to modification by the Secretary in light of subsection (f) of this section;

(3)  all educational loans on which payment is deferred, grants, scholarships, fellowships, veterans' educational benefits, and the like--

(A)  awarded to a household member enrolled at a recognized institution of post-secondary education, at a school for the handicapped, in a vocational education program, or in a program that provides for completion of a secondary school diploma or obtaining the equivalent thereof;

(B)  to the extent that they do not exceed the amount used for or made available as an allowance determined by such school, institution, program, or other grantor, for tuition and mandatory fees (including the rental or purchase of any equipment, materials, and supplies related to the pursuit of the course of study involved), books, supplies, transportation, and other miscellaneous personal expenses (other than living expenses), of the student incidental to attending such school, institution, or program;  and

(C)  to the extent loans include any origination fees and insurance premiums;

(4)  all loans other than educational loans on which repayment is deferred;

(5)  reimbursements which do not exceed expenses actually incurred and which do not represent a gain or benefit to the household and any allowance a State agency provides no more frequently than annually to families with children on the occasion of those children's entering or returning to school or child care for the purpose of obtaining school clothes (except that no such allowance shall be excluded if the State agency reduces monthly assistance under a State program funded under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act ( 42 U.S.C. 601 et seq. ) in the month for which the allowance is provided):  Provided, That no portion of benefits provided under title IV-A of the Social Security Act, to the extent it is attributable to an adjustment for work-related or child care expenses (except for payments or reimbursements for such expenses made under an employment, education, or training program initiated under such title after September 19, 1988), and no portion of any educational loan on which payment is deferred, grant, scholarship, fellowship, veterans' benefits, and the like that are provided for living expenses, shall be considered such reimbursement;

(6)  moneys received and used for the care and maintenance of a third-party beneficiary who is not a household member, and child support payments made by a household member to or for an individual who is not a member of the household if the household member is legally obligated to make the payments;

(7)  income earned by a child who is a member of the household, who is an elementary or secondary school student, and who is 17 years of age or younger;

(8)  moneys received in the form of nonrecurring lump-sum payments, including, but not limited to, income tax refunds, rebates, or credits, cash donations based on need that are received from one or more private nonprofit charitable organizations, but not in excess of $300 in the aggregate in a quarter, retroactive lump-sum social security or railroad retirement pension payments and retroactive lump-sum insurance settlements:  Provided, That such payments shall be counted as resources, unless specifically excluded by other laws;

(9)  the cost of producing self-employed income, but household income that otherwise is included under this subsection shall be reduced by the extent that the cost of producing self-employment income exceeds the income derived from self-employment as a farmer;

(10)  any income that any other Federal law specifically excludes from consideration as income for purposes of determining eligibility for the supplemental nutrition assistance program except as otherwise provided in subsection (k) of this section;

(11)(A)  any payments or allowances made for the purpose of providing energy assistance under any Federal law (other than part A of title IV of the Social Security Act ( 42 U.S.C. 601 et seq. ));  or

(B)  a 1-time payment or allowance made under a Federal or State law for the costs of weatherization or emergency repair or replacement of an unsafe or inoperative furnace or other heating or cooling device;

(12)  through September 30 of any fiscal year, any increase in income attributable to a cost-of-living adjustment made on or after July 1 of such fiscal year under title II or XVI of the Social Security Act, section 3(a)(1) of the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974 ( 45 U.S.C. 231b(a)(1) ), or section 5312 of Title 38 , if the household was certified as eligible to participate in the supplemental nutrition assistance program or received an allotment in the month immediately preceding the first month in which the adjustment was effective;

(13)  any payment made to the household under section 3507 of Title 26 (relating to advance payment of earned income credit);

(14)  any payment made to the household under section 2015(d)(4)(I) of this title or a pilot project under section 2025(h)(1)(F) of this title for work related expenses or for dependent care;

(15)  any amounts necessary for the fulfillment of a plan for achieving self-support of a household member as provided under subparagraph (A)(iii) or (B)(iv) of section 1612(b)(4) of the Social Security Act ( 42 U.S.C. 1382a(b)(4) );

(16)  at the option of the State agency, any educational loans on which payment is deferred, grants, scholarships, fellowships, veterans' educational benefits, and the like (other than loans, grants, scholarships, fellowships, veterans' educational benefits, and the like excluded under paragraph (3)), to the extent that they are required to be excluded under title XIX of the Social Security Act ( 42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq. );

(17)  at the option of the State agency, any State complementary assistance program payments that are excluded for the purpose of determining eligibility for medical assistance under section 1931 of the Social Security Act ( 42 U.S.C. 1396u-1 );

(18)  at the option of the State agency, any types of income that the State agency does not consider when determining eligibility for (A) cash assistance under a program funded under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act ( 42 U.S.C. 601 et seq. ) or the amount of such assistance, or (B) medical assistance under section 1931 of the Social Security Act ( 42 U.S.C. 1396u-1 ), except that this paragraph does not authorize a State agency to exclude wages or salaries, benefits under title I, II, IV, X, XIV, or XVI of the Social Security Act ( 42 U.S.C. 301 et seq. ), regular payments from a government source (such as unemployment benefits and general assistance), worker's compensation, child support payments made to a household member by an individual who is legally obligated to make the payments, or such other types of income the consideration of which the Secretary determines by regulation to be essential to equitable determinations of eligibility and benefit levels;  and

(19)  any additional payment under chapter 5 of Title 37, or otherwise designated by the Secretary to be appropriate for exclusion under this paragraph, that is received by or from a member of the United States Armed Forces deployed to a designated combat zone, if the additional pay--

(A)  is the result of deployment to or service in a combat zone;  and

(B)  was not received immediately prior to serving in a combat zone.

(e) Deductions from income

(1) Standard deduction

(A) In general

(i) Deduction

The Secretary shall allow a standard deduction for each household in the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands of the United States in an amount that is--

(I)  equal to 8.31 percent of the income standard of eligibility established under subsection (c)(1) of this section;  but

(II)  not more than 8.31 percent of the income standard of eligibility established under subsection (c)(1) of this section for a household of 6 members.

(ii) Minimum amount

Notwithstanding clause (i), the standard deduction for each household in the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands of the United States shall be not less than--

(I)  for fiscal year 2009, $144, $246, $203, and $127, respectively;  and

(II)  for fiscal year 2010 and each fiscal year thereafter, an amount that is equal to the amount from the previous fiscal year adjusted to the nearest lower dollar increment to reflect changes for the 12-month period ending on the preceding June 30 in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor, for items other than food.

(B) Guam

(i) In general

The Secretary shall allow a standard deduction for each household in Guam in an amount that is--

(I)  equal to 8.31 percent of twice the income standard of eligibility established under subsection (c)(1) of this section for the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia;  but

(II)  not more than 8.31 percent of twice the income standard of eligibility established under subsection (c)(1) of this section for the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia for a household of 6 members.

(ii) Minimum amount

Notwithstanding clause (i), the standard deduction for each household in Guam shall be not less than--

(I)  for fiscal year 2009, $289;  and

(II)  for fiscal year 2010 and each fiscal year thereafter, an amount that is equal to the amount from the previous fiscal year adjusted to the nearest lower dollar increment to reflect changes for the 12-month period ending on the preceding June 30 in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor, for items other than food.

(C) Requirement

Each adjustment under subparagraphs (A)(ii)(II) and (B)(ii)(II) shall be based on the unrounded amount for the prior 12-month period.

(2) Earned income deduction

(A) “Earned income” defined

In this paragraph, the term “earned income” does not include--

(i)  income excluded by subsection (d) of this section;  or

(ii)  any portion of income earned under a work supplementation or support program, as defined under section 2025(b) of this title, that is attributable to public assistance.

(B) Deduction

Except as provided in subparagraph (C), a household with earned income shall be allowed a deduction of 20 percent of all earned income to compensate for taxes, other mandatory deductions from salary, and work expenses.

(C) Exception

The deduction described in subparagraph (B) shall not be allowed with respect to determining an overissuance due to the failure of a household to report earned income in a timely manner.

(3) Dependent care deduction

(A) In general

A household shall be entitled, with respect to expenses (other than excluded expenses described in subparagraph (B)) for dependent care, to a dependent care deduction for the actual cost of payments necessary for the care of a dependent if the care enables a household member to accept or continue employment, or training or education that is preparatory for employment.

(B) Excluded expenses

The excluded expenses referred to in subparagraph (A) are--

(i)  expenses paid on behalf of the household by a third party;

(ii)  amounts made available and excluded, for the expenses referred to in subparagraph (A), under subsection (d)(3) of this section;  and

(iii)  expenses that are paid under section 2015(d)(4) of this title or a pilot project under section 2025(h)(1)(F) of this title.

(4) Deduction for child support payments

(A) In general

In lieu of providing an exclusion for legally obligated child support payments made by a household member under subsection (d)(6) of this section, a State agency may elect to provide a deduction for the amount of the payments.

(B) Order of determining deductions

A deduction under this paragraph shall be determined before the computation of the excess shelter expense deduction under paragraph (6).

(5) Excess medical expense deduction

(A) In general

A household containing an elderly or disabled member shall be entitled, with respect to expenses other than expenses paid on behalf of the household by a third party, to an excess medical expense deduction for the portion of the actual costs of allowable medical expenses, incurred by the elderly or disabled member, exclusive of special diets, that exceeds $35 per month.

(B) Method of claiming deduction

(i) In general

A State agency shall offer an eligible household under subparagraph (A) a method of claiming a deduction for recurring medical expenses that are initially verified under the excess medical expense deduction in lieu of submitting information on, or verification of, actual expenses on a monthly basis.

(ii) Method

The method described in clause (i) shall--

(I)  be designed to minimize the burden for the eligible elderly or disabled household member choosing to deduct the recurrent medical expenses of the member pursuant to the method;

(II)  rely on reasonable estimates of the expected medical expenses of the member for the certification period (including changes that can be reasonably anticipated based on available information about the medical condition of the member, public or private medical insurance coverage, and the current verified medical expenses incurred by the member);  and

(III)  not require further reporting or verification of a change in medical expenses if such a change has been anticipated for the certification period.

(C) Exclusion of medical marijuana

The Secretary shall promulgate rules to ensure that medical marijuana is not treated as a medical expense for purposes of this paragraph.

(6) Excess shelter expense deduction

(A) In general

A household shall be entitled, with respect to expenses other than expenses paid on behalf of the household by a third party, to an excess shelter expense deduction to the extent that the monthly amount expended by a household for shelter exceeds an amount equal to 50 percent of monthly household income after all other applicable deductions have been allowed.

(B) Maximum amount of deduction

In the case of a household that does not contain an elderly or disabled individual, in the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the Virgin Islands of the United States, the excess shelter expense deduction shall not exceed--

(i)  for the period beginning on August 22, 1996, and ending on December 31, 1996, $247, $429, $353, $300, and $182 per month, respectively;

(ii)  for the period beginning on January 1, 1997, and ending on September 30, 1998, $250, $434, $357, $304, and $184 per month, respectively;

(iii)  for fiscal year 1999, $275, $478, $393, $334, and $203 per month, respectively;

(iv)  for fiscal year 2000, $280, $483, $398, $339, and $208 per month, respectively;

(v)  for fiscal year 2001, $340, $543, $458, $399, and $268 per month, respectively;  and

(vi)  for fiscal year 2002 and each subsequent fiscal year, the applicable amount during the preceding fiscal year, as adjusted to reflect changes for the 12-month period ending the preceding November 30 in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor.

(C) Standard utility allowance

(i) In general

In computing the excess shelter expense deduction, a State agency may use a standard utility allowance in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Secretary, subject to clause (iv), except that a State agency may use an allowance that does not fluctuate within a year to reflect seasonal variations.

(ii) Restrictions on heating and cooling expenses

An allowance for a heating or cooling expense may not be used in the case of a household that--

(I)  does not incur a heating or cooling expense, as the case may be;

(II)  does incur a heating or cooling expense but is located in a public housing unit that has central utility meters and charges households, with regard to the expense, only for excess utility costs;  or

(III)  shares the expense with, and lives with, another individual not participating in the supplemental nutrition assistance program, another household participating in the supplemental nutrition assistance program, or both, unless the allowance is prorated between the household and the other individual, household, or both.

(iii) Mandatory allowance

(I) In general

A State agency may make the use of a standard utility allowance mandatory for all households with qualifying utility costs if--

(aa)  the State agency has developed 1 or more standards that include the cost of heating and cooling and 1 or more standards that do not include the cost of heating and cooling;  and

(bb)  the Secretary finds (without regard to subclause (III)) that the standards will not result in an increased cost to the Secretary.

(II) Household election

A State agency that has not made the use of a standard utility allowance mandatory under subclause (I) shall allow a household to switch, at the end of a certification period, between the standard utility allowance and a deduction based on the actual utility costs of the household.

(III) Inapplicability of certain restrictions

Clauses (ii)(II) and (ii)(III) shall not apply in the case of a State agency that has made the use of a standard utility allowance mandatory under subclause (I).

(iv) Availability of allowance to recipients of energy assistance

(I) In general

Subject to subclause (II), if a State agency elects to use a standard utility allowance that reflects heating and cooling costs, the standard utility allowance shall be made available to households that received a payment, or on behalf of which a payment was made, under the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act of 1981 ( 42 U.S.C. 8621 et seq. ) or other similar energy assistance program, if in the current month or in the immediately preceding 12 months, the household either received such a payment, or such a payment was made on behalf of the household, that was greater than $20 annually, as determined by the Secretary.

(II) Separate allowance

A State agency may use a separate standard utility allowance for households on behalf of which a payment described in subclause (I) is made, but may not be required to do so.

(III) States not electing to use separate allowance

A State agency that does not elect to use a separate allowance but makes a single standard utility allowance available to households incurring heating or cooling expenses (other than a household described in subclause (I) or (II) of clause (ii)) may not be required to reduce the allowance due to the provision (directly or indirectly) of assistance under the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act of 1981 ( 42 U.S.C. 8621 et seq. ).

(IV) Proration of assistance

For the purpose of the supplemental nutrition assistance program, assistance provided under the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act of 1981 ( 42 U.S.C. 8621 et seq. ) shall be considered to be prorated over the entire heating or cooling season for which the assistance was provided.

(D) Homeless households

(i) Alternative deduction

In lieu of the deduction provided under subparagraph (A), a State agency may elect to allow a household in which all members are homeless individuals, but that is not receiving free shelter throughout the month, to receive a deduction of $143 per month.

(ii) Ineligibility

The State agency may make a household with extremely low shelter costs ineligible for the alternative deduction under clause (i).

(f) Calculation of household income;  prospective or retrospective accounting basis;  consistency

(1)(A)  Household income for those households that, by contract for other than an hourly or piecework basis or by self-employment, derive their annual income in a period of time shorter than one year shall be calculated by averaging such income over a twelve-month period.  Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, household income resulting from the self-employment of a member in a farming operation, who derives income from such farming operation and who has irregular expenses to produce such income, may, at the option of the household, be calculated by averaging such income and expenses over a 12-month period.  Notwithstanding the first sentence, if the averaged amount does not accurately reflect the household's actual monthly circumstances because the household has experienced a substantial increase or decrease in business earnings, the State agency shall calculate the self-employment income based on anticipated earnings.

(B)  Household income for those households that receive nonexcluded income of the type described in subsection (d)(3) of this section shall be calculated by averaging such income over the period for which it is received.

(C) Simplified determination of deductions

(i) In general

Except as provided in clause (ii), for the purposes of subsection (e) of this section, a State agency may elect to disregard until the next recertification of eligibility under section 2020(e)(4) of this title 1 or more types of changes in the circumstances of a household that affect the amount of deductions the household may claim under subsection (e) of this section.

(ii) Changes that may not be disregarded

Under clause (i), a State agency may not disregard--

(I)  any reported change of residence;  or

(II)  under standards prescribed by the Secretary, any change in earned income.

(2)(A)  Except as provided in subparagraphs (B), (C), and (D), households shall have their incomes calculated on a prospective basis, as provided in paragraph (3)(A), or, at the option of the State agency, on a retrospective basis, as provided in paragraph (3)(B).

(B)  In the case of the first month, or at the option of the State, the first and second months, during a continuous period in which a household is certified, the State agency shall determine eligibility and the amount of benefits on the basis of the household's income and other relevant circumstances in such first or second month.

(C)  Households specified in clauses (i) , (ii) , and (iii) of section 2015(c)(1)(A) of this title shall have their income calculated on a prospective basis, as provided in paragraph (3)(A).

(D)  Except as provided in subparagraph (B), households required to submit monthly reports of their income and household circumstances under section 2015(c)(1) of this title shall have their income calculated on a retrospective basis, as provided in paragraph (3)(B).

(3)(A)  Calculation of household income on a prospective basis is the calculation of income on the basis of the income reasonably anticipated to be received by the household during the period for which eligibility or benefits are being determined.  Such calculation shall be made in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary which shall provide for taking into account both the income reasonably anticipated to be received by the household during the period for which eligibility or benefits are being determined and the income received by the household during the preceding thirty days.

(B)  Calculation of household income on a retrospective basis is the calculation of income for the period for which eligibility or benefits are being determined on the basis of income received in a previous period.  Such calculation shall be made in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary which may provide for the determination of eligibility on a prospective basis in some or all cases in which benefits are calculated under this paragraph.  Such regulations shall provide for supplementing the initial allotments of newly applying households in those cases in which the determination of income under this paragraph causes serious hardship.

(4)  In promulgating regulations under this subsection, the Secretary shall consult with the Secretary of Health and Human Services in order to assure that, to the extent feasible and consistent with the purposes of this chapter and the Social Security Act, the income of households receiving benefits under this chapter and Title IV-A of the Social Security Act is calculated on a comparable basis under this chapter and the Social Security Act.  The Secretary is authorized, upon the request of a State agency, to waive any of the provisions of this subsection (except the provisions of paragraph (2)(A) ) to the extent necessary to permit the State agency to calculate income for purposes of this chapter on the same basis that income is calculated under Title IV-A of the Social Security Act in that State.

(g) Allowable financial resources

(1) Total amount

(A) In general

The Secretary shall prescribe the types and allowable amounts of financial resources (liquid and nonliquid assets) an eligible household may own, and shall, in so doing, assure that a household otherwise eligible to participate in the supplemental nutrition assistance program will not be eligible to participate if its resources exceed $2,000 (as adjusted in accordance with subparagraph (B)), or, in the case of a household which consists of or includes an elderly or disabled member, if its resources exceed $3,000 (as adjusted in accordance with subparagraph (B)).

(B) Adjustment for inflation

(i) In general

Beginning on October 1, 2008, and each October 1 thereafter, the amounts specified in subparagraph (A) shall be adjusted and rounded down to the nearest $250 increment to reflect changes for the 12-month period ending the preceding June in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor.

(ii) Requirement

Each adjustment under clause (i) shall be based on the unrounded amount for the prior 12-month period.

(2) Included assets

(A) In general

Subject to the other provisions of this paragraph, the Secretary shall, in prescribing inclusions in, and exclusions from, financial resources, follow the regulations in force as of June 1, 1982 (other than those relating to licensed vehicles and inaccessible resources).

(B) Additional included assets

The Secretary shall include in financial resources--

(i)  any boat, snowmobile, or airplane used for recreational purposes;

(ii)  any vacation home;

(iii)  any mobile home used primarily for vacation purposes;

(iv)  subject to subparagraphs (C) and (D), any licensed vehicle that is used for household transportation or to obtain or continue employment to the extent that the fair market value of the vehicle exceeds $4,650;  and

(v)  any savings account, regardless of whether there is a penalty for early withdrawal.

(C) Excluded vehicles

A vehicle (and any other property, real or personal, to the extent the property is directly related to the maintenance or use of the vehicle) shall not be included in financial resources under this paragraph if the vehicle is--

(i)  used to produce earned income;

(ii)  necessary for the transportation of a physically disabled household member;  or

(iii)  depended on by a household to carry fuel for heating or water for home use and provides the primary source of fuel or water, respectively, for the household.

(D) Alternative vehicle allowance

If the vehicle allowance standards that a State agency uses to determine eligibility for assistance under the State program funded under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act ( 42 U.S.C. 601 et seq. ) would result in a lower attribution of resources to certain households than under subparagraph (B)(iv), in lieu of applying subparagraph (B)(iv), the State agency may elect to apply the State vehicle allowance standards to all households that would incur a lower attribution of resources under the State vehicle allowance standards.

(3)  The Secretary shall exclude from financial resources the value of a burial plot for each member of a household and nonliquid resources necessary to allow the household to carry out a plan for self-sufficiency approved by the State agency that constitutes adequate participation in an employment and training program under section 2015(d) of this title or a pilot project under section 2025(h)(1)(F) of this title.  The Secretary shall also exclude from financial resources any earned income tax credits received by any member of the household for a period of 12 months from receipt if such member was participating in the supplemental nutrition assistance program at the time the credits were received and participated in such program continuously during the 12-month period.

(4)  In the case of farm property (including land, equipment, and supplies) that is essential to the self-employment of a household member in a farming operation, the Secretary shall exclude from financial resources the value of such property until the expiration of the 1-year period beginning on the date such member ceases to be self-employed in farming.

(5)  The Secretary shall promulgate rules by which State agencies shall develop standards for identifying kinds of resources that, as a practical matter, the household is unlikely to be able to sell for any significant return because the household's interest is relatively slight or because the cost of selling the household's interest would be relatively great.  Resources so identified shall be excluded as inaccessible resources.  A resource shall be so identified if its sale or other disposition is unlikely to produce any significant amount of funds for the support of the household.  The Secretary shall not require the State agency to require verification of the value of a resource to be excluded under this paragraph unless the State agency determines that the information provided by the household is questionable.

(6) Exclusion of types of financial resources not considered under certain other federal programs

(A) In general

Subject to subparagraph (B), a State agency may, at the option of the State agency, exclude from financial resources under this subsection any types of financial resources that the State agency does not consider when determining eligibility for--

(i)  cash assistance under a program funded under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act ( 42 U.S.C. 601 et seq. );  or

(ii)  medical assistance under section 1931 of the Social Security Act ( 42 U.S.C. 1396u-1 ).

(B) Limitations

Except to the extent that any of the types of resources specified in clauses (i) through (iv) are excluded under another paragraph of this subsection, subparagraph (A) does not authorize a State agency to exclude--

(i)  cash;

(ii)  licensed vehicles;

(iii)  amounts in any account in a financial institution that are readily available to the household;  or

(iv)  any other similar type of resource the inclusion in financial resources of which the Secretary determines by regulation to be essential to equitable determinations of eligibility under the supplemental nutrition assistance program.

(7) Exclusion of retirement accounts from allowable financial resources

(A) Mandatory exclusions

The Secretary shall exclude from financial resources under this subsection the value of--

(i)  any funds in a plan, contract, or account, described in sections 401(a) , 403(a) , 403(b) , 408 , 408A , 457(b) , and 501(c)(18) of Title 26 and the value of funds in a Federal Thrift Savings Plan account as provided in section 8439 of Title 5 ;  and

(ii)  any retirement program or account included in any successor or similar provision that may be enacted and determined to be exempt from tax under Title 26.

(B) Discretionary exclusions

The Secretary may exclude from financial resources under this subsection the value of any other retirement plans, contracts, or accounts (as determined by the Secretary).

(8) Exclusion of education accounts from allowable financial resources

(A) Mandatory exclusions

The Secretary shall exclude from financial resources under this subsection the value of any funds in a qualified tuition program described in section 529 of Title 26 or in a Coverdell education savings account under section 530 of that title.

(B) Discretionary exclusions

The Secretary may exclude from financial resources under this subsection the value of any other education programs, contracts, or accounts (as determined by the Secretary).

(h) Temporary emergency standards of eligibility;  Disaster Task Force;  direct assistance to State and local officials

(1)  The Secretary shall, after consultation with the official empowered to exercise the authority provided for by sections 5170a and 5192 of Title 42 , establish temporary emergency standards of eligibility for the duration of the emergency for households who are victims of a disaster which disrupts commercial channels of food distribution, if such households are in need of temporary food assistance and if commercial channels of food distribution have again become available to meet the temporary food needs of such households.  Such standards as are prescribed for individual emergencies may be promulgated without regard to section 2013(c) of this title or the procedures set forth in section 553 of Title 5 .

(2)  The Secretary shall--

(A)  establish a Disaster Task Force to assist States in implementing and operating the disaster program and the regular supplemental nutrition assistance program in the disaster area;  and

(B)  if the Secretary, in the Secretary's discretion, determines that it is cost-effective to send members of the Task Force to the disaster area, the Secretary shall send them to such area as soon as possible after the disaster occurs to provide direct assistance to State and local officials.

(3)(A)  The Secretary shall provide, by regulation, for emergency allotments to eligible households to replace food destroyed in a disaster.  The regulations shall provide for replacement of the value of food actually lost up to a limit approved by the Secretary not greater than the applicable maximum monthly allotment for the household size.

(B)  The Secretary shall adjust issuance methods and reporting and other application requirements to be consistent with what is practicable under actual conditions in the affected area.  In making this adjustment, the Secretary shall consider the availability of the State agency's offices and personnel, any conditions that make reliance on electronic benefit transfer systems described in section 2016(h) of this title impracticable, and any damage to or disruption of transportation and communication facilities.

(i) Attribution of income and resources to sponsored aliens;  coverage, computations, etc.

(1)  For purposes of determining eligibility for and the amount of benefits under this chapter for an individual who is an alien as described in section 2015(f)(2)(B) of this title, the income and resources of any person who as a sponsor of such individual's entry into the United States executed an affidavit of support or similar agreement with respect to such individual, and the income and resources of the sponsor's spouse if such spouse is living with the sponsor, shall be deemed to be the income and resources of such individual for a period of three years after the individual's entry into the United States.  Any such income deemed to be income of such individual shall be treated as unearned income of such individual.

(2)(A)  The amount of income of a sponsor, and the sponsor's spouse if living with the sponsor, which shall be deemed to be the unearned income of an alien for any year shall be determined as follows:

(i)  the total yearly rate of earned and unearned income of such sponsor, and such sponsor's spouse if such spouse is living with the sponsor, shall be determined for such year under rules prescribed by the Secretary;

(ii)  the amount determined under clause (i) of this subparagraph shall be reduced by an amount equal to the income eligibility standard as determined under subsection (c) of this section for a household equal in size to the sponsor, the sponsor's spouse if living with the sponsor, and any persons dependent upon or receiving support from the sponsor or the sponsor's spouse if the spouse is living with the sponsor;  and

(iii)  the monthly income attributed to such alien shall be one-twelfth of the amount calculated under clause (ii) of this subparagraph.

(B)  The amount of resources of a sponsor, and the sponsor's spouse if living with the sponsor, which shall be deemed to be the resources of an alien for any year shall be determined as follows:

(i)  the total amount of the resources of such sponsor and such sponsor's spouse if such spouse is living with the sponsor shall be determined under rules prescribed by the Secretary;

(ii)  the amount determined under clause (i) of this subparagraph shall be reduced by $1,500;  and

(iii)  the resources determined under clause (ii) of this subparagraph shall be deemed to be resources of such alien in addition to any resources of such alien.

(C)(i)  Any individual who is an alien shall, during the period of three years after entry into the United States, in order to be an eligible individual or eligible spouse for purposes of this chapter, be required to provide to the State agency such information and documentation with respect to the alien's sponsor and sponsor's spouse as may be necessary in order for the State agency to make any determination required under this section, and to obtain any cooperation from such sponsor necessary for any such determination.  Such alien shall also be required to provide such information and documentation which such alien or the sponsor provided in support of such alien's immigration application as the State agency may request.

(ii)  The Secretary shall enter into agreements with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General whereby any information available to such persons and required in order to make any determination under this section will be provided by such persons to the Secretary, and whereby such persons shall inform any sponsor of an alien, at the time such sponsor executes an affidavit of support or similar agreement, of the requirements imposed by this section.

(D)  Any sponsor of an alien, and such alien, shall be jointly and severably liable for an amount equal to any overpayment made to such alien during the period of three years after such alien's entry into the United States, on account of such sponsor's failure to provide correct information under the provisions of this section, except where such sponsor was without fault, or where good cause for such failure existed.  Any such overpayment which is not repaid shall be recovered in accordance with the provisions of section 2022(b) of this title.

(E)  The provisions of this subsection shall not apply with respect to any alien who is a member of the sponsor's household or to any alien who is under 18 years of age.

(j) Resource exemption for otherwise exempt households

Notwithstanding subsections (a) through (i) of this section, a State agency shall consider a household member who receives supplemental security income benefits under title XVI of the Social Security Act, aid to the aged, blind, or disabled under title I, II, X, XIV, or XVI of such Act or who receives benefits under a State program funded under part A of title IV of the Act ( 42 U.S.C. 601 et seq. ) to have satisfied the resource limitations prescribed under subsection (g) of this section.

(k) Assistance to third parties included;  educational benefits;  exceptions

(1)  For purposes of subsection (d)(1) of this section, except as provided in paragraph (2), assistance provided to a third party on behalf of a household by a State or local government shall be considered money payable directly to the household if the assistance is provided in lieu of--

(A)  a regular benefit payable to the household for living expenses under a State program funded under part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act ( 42 U.S.C. 601 et seq. );  or

(B)  a benefit payable to the household for housing expenses, under--

(i)  a State or local general assistance program;  or

(ii)  another basic assistance program comparable to general assistance (as determined by the Secretary).

(2)  Paragraph (1) shall not apply to--

(A)  medical assistance;

(B)  child care assistance;

(C)  a payment or allowance described in subsection (d)(11) of this section;

(D)  assistance provided by a State or local housing authority;

(E)  emergency assistance for migrant or seasonal farmworker households during the period such households are in the job stream;

(F)  emergency and special assistance, to the extent excluded in regulations prescribed by the Secretary; or

(G)  assistance provided to a third party on behalf of a household under a State or local general assistance program, or another local basic assistance program comparable to general assistance (as determined by the Secretary), if, under State law, no assistance under the program may be provided directly to the household in the form of a cash payment.

(3)  For purposes of subsection (d)(1) of this section, educational loans on which payment is deferred, grants, scholarships, fellowships, veterans' educational benefits, and the like that are provided to a third party on behalf of a household for living expenses shall be treated as money payable directly to the household.

(4) Third party energy assistance payments

(A) Energy assistance payments

For purposes of subsection (d)(1) of this section, a payment made under a State law (other than a law referred to in paragraph (2)(G)) to provide energy assistance to a household shall be considered money payable directly to the household.

(B) Energy assistance expenses

For purposes of subsection (e)(6) of this section, an expense paid on behalf of a household under a State law to provide energy assistance shall be considered an out-of-pocket expense incurred and paid by the household.

(l) Earnings to participants of on-the-job training programs;  exception

Notwithstanding section 181(a)(2) of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, earnings to individuals participating in on-the-job training under title I of such Act shall be considered earned income for purposes of the supplemental nutrition assistance program, except for dependents less than 19 years of age.

(m) Simplified calculation of income for the self-employed

(1) In general

Not later than 1 year after August 22, 1996, the Secretary shall establish a procedure by which a State may submit a method, designed to not increase Federal costs, for the approval of the Secretary, that the Secretary determines will produce a reasonable estimate of income excluded under subsection (d)(9) of this section in lieu of calculating the actual cost of producing self-employment income.

(2) Inclusive of all types of income or limited types of income

The method submitted by a State under paragraph (1) may allow a State to estimate income for all types of self-employment income or may be limited to 1 or more types of self-employment income.

(3) Differences for different types of income

The method submitted by a State under paragraph (1) may differ for different types of self-employment income.

(n) State options to simplify determination of child support payments

Regardless of whether a State agency elects to provide a deduction under subsection (e)(4) of this section, the Secretary shall establish simplified procedures to allow State agencies, at the option of the State agencies, to determine the amount of any legally obligated child support payments made, including procedures to allow the State agency to rely on information from the agency responsible for implementing the program under part D of title IV of the Social Security Act ( 42 U.S.C. 651 et seq. ) concerning payments made in prior months in lieu of obtaining current information from the households.


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