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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Chapter 256J

Section 256J.21

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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 developmental disabilities, 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;
    (46) the principal portion of a contract for deed payment; and
    (47) cash payments to individuals enrolled for full-time service as a volunteer under
AmeriCorps programs including AmeriCorps VISTA, AmeriCorps State, AmeriCorps National,
and AmeriCorps NCCC.
    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.
History: 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 56 s 1; 2005 c 98 art 1 s 12; 2007 c 147 art 2 s 28