256J.21 Income limitations.
Subdivision 1. Income inclusions. To determine MFIP eligibility, the county agency must evaluate income received by members of an assistance unit, or by other persons whose income is considered available to the assistance unit, and only count income that is available to the member of the assistance unit. Income is available if the individual has legal access to the income. All payments, unless specifically excluded in subdivision 2, must be counted as income. The county agency shall verify the income of all MFIP recipients and applicants.
Subd. 2. Income exclusions. The following must be excluded in determining a family's available income:
(1) payments for basic care, difficulty of care, and clothing allowances received for providing family foster care to children or adults under Minnesota Rules, parts 9555.5050 to 9555.6265, 9560.0521, and 9560.0650 to 9560.0655, and payments received and used for care and maintenance of a third-party beneficiary who is not a household member;
(2) reimbursements for employment training received through the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, United States Code, title 20, chapter 73, section 9201;
(3) reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses incurred while performing volunteer services, jury duty, employment, or informal carpooling arrangements directly related to employment;
(4) all educational assistance, except the county agency must count graduate student teaching assistantships, fellowships, and other similar paid work as earned income and, after allowing deductions for any unmet and necessary educational expenses, shall count scholarships or grants awarded to graduate students that do not require teaching or research as unearned income;
(5) loans, regardless of purpose, from public or private lending institutions, governmental lending institutions, or governmental agencies;
(6) loans from private individuals, regardless of purpose, provided an applicant or participant documents that the lender expects repayment;
(7)(i) state income tax refunds; and
(ii) federal income tax refunds;
(8)(i) federal earned income credits;
(ii) Minnesota working family credits;
(iii) state homeowners and renters credits under chapter 290A; and
(iv) federal or state tax rebates;
(9) funds received for reimbursement, replacement, or rebate of personal or real property when these payments are made by public agencies, awarded by a court, solicited through public appeal, or made as a grant by a federal agency, state or local government, or disaster assistance organizations, subsequent to a presidential declaration of disaster;
(10) the portion of an insurance settlement that is used to pay medical, funeral, and burial expenses, or to repair or replace insured property;
(11) reimbursements for medical expenses that cannot be paid by medical assistance;
(12) payments by a vocational rehabilitation program administered by the state under chapter 268A, except those payments that are for current living expenses;
(13) in-kind income, including any payments directly made by a third party to a provider of goods and services;
(14) assistance payments to correct underpayments, but only for the month in which the payment is received;
(15) payments for short-term emergency needs under section 256J.626, subdivision 2;
(16) funeral and cemetery payments as provided by section 256.935;
(17) nonrecurring cash gifts of $30 or less, not exceeding $30 per participant in a calendar month;
(18) any form of energy assistance payment made through Public Law 97-35, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act of 1981, payments made directly to energy providers by other public and private agencies, and any form of credit or rebate payment issued by energy providers;
(19) Supplemental Security Income (SSI), including retroactive SSI payments and other income of an SSI recipient, except as described in section 256J.37, subdivision 3b;
(20) Minnesota supplemental aid, including retroactive payments;
(21) proceeds from the sale of real or personal property;
(22) state adoption assistance payments under section 259.67, and up to an equal amount of county adoption assistance payments;
(23) state-funded family subsidy program payments made under section 252.32 to help families care for children with mental retardation or related conditions, consumer support grant funds under section 256.476, and resources and services for a disabled household member under one of the home and community-based waiver services programs under chapter 256B;
(24) interest payments and dividends from property that is not excluded from and that does not exceed the asset limit;
(25) rent rebates;
(26) income earned by a minor caregiver, minor child through age 6, or a minor child who is at least a half-time student in an approved elementary or secondary education program;
(27) income earned by a caregiver under age 20 who is at least a half-time student in an approved elementary or secondary education program;
(28) MFIP child care payments under section 119B.05;
(29) all other payments made through MFIP to support a caregiver's pursuit of greater economic stability;
(30) income a participant receives related to shared living expenses;
(31) reverse mortgages;
(32) benefits provided by the Child Nutrition Act of 1966, United States Code, title 42, chapter 13A, sections 1771 to 1790;
(33) benefits provided by the women, infants, and children (WIC) nutrition program, United States Code, title 42, chapter 13A, section 1786;
(34) benefits from the National School Lunch Act, United States Code, title 42, chapter 13, sections 1751 to 1769e;
(35) relocation assistance for displaced persons under the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, United States Code, title 42, chapter 61, subchapter II, section 4636, or the National Housing Act, United States Code, title 12, chapter 13, sections 1701 to 1750jj;
(36) benefits from the Trade Act of 1974, United States Code, title 19, chapter 12, part 2, sections 2271 to 2322;
(37) war reparations payments to Japanese Americans and Aleuts under United States Code, title 50, sections 1989 to 1989d;
(38) payments to veterans or their dependents as a result of legal settlements regarding Agent Orange or other chemical exposure under Public Law 101-239, section 10405, paragraph (a)(2)(E);
(39) income that is otherwise specifically excluded from MFIP consideration in federal law, state law, or federal regulation;
(40) security and utility deposit refunds;
(41) American Indian tribal land settlements excluded under Public Laws 98-123, 98-124, and 99-377 to the Mississippi Band Chippewa Indians of White Earth, Leech Lake, and Mille Lacs reservations and payments to members of the White Earth Band, under United States Code, title 25, chapter 9, section 331, and chapter 16, section 1407;
(42) all income of the minor parent's parents and stepparents when determining the grant for the minor parent in households that include a minor parent living with parents or stepparents on MFIP with other children;
(43) income of the minor parent's parents and stepparents equal to 200 percent of the federal poverty guideline for a family size not including the minor parent and the minor parent's child in households that include a minor parent living with parents or stepparents not on MFIP when determining the grant for the minor parent. The remainder of income is deemed as specified in section 256J.37, subdivision 1b;
(44) payments made to children eligible for relative custody assistance under section 257.85;
(45) vendor payments for goods and services made on behalf of a client unless the client has the option of receiving the payment in cash; and
(46) the principal portion of a contract for deed payment.
Subd. 3. Initial income test. The county agency shall determine initial eligibility by considering all earned and unearned income that is not excluded under subdivision 2. To be eligible for MFIP, the assistance unit's countable income minus the disregards in paragraphs (a) and (b) must be below the transitional standard of assistance according to section 256J.24 for that size assistance unit.
(a) The initial eligibility determination must disregard the following items:
(1) the employment disregard is 18 percent of the gross earned income whether or not the member is working full time or part time;
(2) dependent care costs must be deducted from gross earned income for the actual amount paid for dependent care up to a maximum of $200 per month for each child less than two years of age, and $175 per month for each child two years of age and older under this chapter and chapter 119B;
(3) all payments made according to a court order for spousal support or the support of children not living in the assistance unit's household shall be disregarded from the income of the person with the legal obligation to pay support, provided that, if there has been a change in the financial circumstances of the person with the legal obligation to pay support since the support order was entered, the person with the legal obligation to pay support has petitioned for a modification of the support order; and
(4) an allocation for the unmet need of an ineligible spouse or an ineligible child under the age of 21 for whom the caregiver is financially responsible and who lives with the caregiver according to section 256J.36.
(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), when determining initial eligibility for applicant units when at least one member has received MFIP in this state within four months of the most recent application for MFIP, apply the disregard as defined in section 256J.08, subdivision 24, for all unit members.
After initial eligibility is established, the assistance payment calculation is based on the monthly income test.
Subd. 4. Monthly income test and determination of assistance payment. The county agency shall determine ongoing eligibility and the assistance payment amount according to the monthly income test. To be eligible for MFIP, the result of the computations in paragraphs (a) to (e) must be at least $1.
(a) Apply an income disregard as defined in section 256J.08, subdivision 24, to gross earnings and subtract this amount from the family wage level. If the difference is equal to or greater than the MFIP standard of need, the assistance payment is equal to the MFIP standard of need. If the difference is less than the MFIP standard of need, the assistance payment is equal to the difference. The employment disregard in this paragraph must be deducted every month there is earned income.
(b) All payments made according to a court order for spousal support or the support of children not living in the assistance unit's household must be disregarded from the income of the person with the legal obligation to pay support, provided that, if there has been a change in the financial circumstances of the person with the legal obligation to pay support since the support order was entered, the person with the legal obligation to pay support has petitioned for a modification of the court order.
(c) An allocation for the unmet need of an ineligible spouse or an ineligible child under the age of 21 for whom the caregiver is financially responsible and who lives with the caregiver must be made according to section 256J.36.
(d) Subtract unearned income dollar for dollar from the MFIP standard of need to determine the assistance payment amount.
(e) When income is both earned and unearned, the amount of the assistance payment must be determined by first treating gross earned income as specified in paragraph (a). After determining the amount of the assistance payment under paragraph (a), unearned income must be subtracted from that amount dollar for dollar to determine the assistance payment amount.
(f) When the monthly income is greater than the MFIP standard of need after deductions and the income will only exceed the standard for one month, the county agency must suspend the assistance payment for the payment month.
Subd. 5. Distribution of income. The income of all members of the assistance unit must be counted. Income may also be deemed from ineligible persons to the assistance unit. Income must be attributed to the person who earns it or to the assistance unit according to paragraphs (a) to (c).
(a) Funds distributed from a trust, whether from the principal holdings or sale of trust property or from the interest and other earnings of the trust holdings, must be considered income when the income is legally available to an applicant or participant. Trusts are presumed legally available unless an applicant or participant can document that the trust is not legally available.
(b) Income from jointly owned property must be divided equally among property owners unless the terms of ownership provide for a different distribution.
(c) Deductions are not allowed from the gross income of a financially responsible household member or by the members of an assistance unit to meet a current or prior debt.
HIST: 1997 c 85 art 1 s 13; 1998 c 407 art 6 s 43; 1999 c 159 s 81; 1999 c 245 art 6 s 20-22; 2000 c 488 art 10 s 8; 1Sp2001 c 9 art 10 s 13,66; 2002 c 379 art 1 s 113; 1Sp2003 c 14 art 1 s 33,34; 2004 c 288 art 4 s 32,33; 2005 c 98 art 1 s 12