Calculating Income

Earned vs. Unearned Income

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It is important to know if income is earned or unearned, since a 20% deduction from the earned income will be taken during the SNAP budgeting process. This deduction makes a big difference in the final SNAP allotment amount. If income is incorrectly classified, the resulting budget will be wrong. Under categorical eligibility rules, most households with earned income are allowed to use 150% of the FPL when determining income eligibility.

Gross monthly earned income: income from earned sources before any deductions such as taxes, FICA, health benefits, or union dues are taken out. All income received by every member of the SNAP household counts unless it is specifically exempt. This includes the income of children unless the child is under 18 and a student. Also see the Self Employment Income section of this guide.

Gross monthly unearned income: total household income from unearned sources.

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Common Sources of Income

This list is not exhaustive.

Earned Income

  • Gross wages from work (including income from part-time work of high school/GED students who are age 18 or over)
  • Self-employment earnings (minus the cost of doing business)
  • Gross income from rental property (minus the cost of doing business) in which a household member is engaged in management for at least 20 hours a week
  • Payments from boarders/lodgers (excluding related costs incurred)
  • Youth Opportunity Program payments
  • Earnings from the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) for household members age 19 and over
  • Training allowances, to the extent they are not a reimbursement from Temporary Assistance (TA) or SNAP
  • VISTA income (however, if the household was on SNAP or TA when they entered VISTA, then the VISTA income is not counted)
  • Wages earned by a household member that are garnished or diverted by an employer (except court-ordered child support)

Unearned Income

  • Adoption subsidy
  • Alimony payments
  • Annuities
  • Any portion of Veterans Administration scholarships for general living expenses (the remainder is excluded)
  • Child support payments received (including any TA “pass-through”)
  • FEMA payments to homeless in absence of major disaster
  • Foster care subsidy if child is included in the household
  • Monies and dividends paid from trusts, interest, and royalties
  • Pensions
  • Short-term disability payments
  • Social security retirement, survivors’ benefits, SSI, SSD
  • Strike benefits
  • Temporary assistance payments (TANF)
  • Veterans’ benefits including VA Aid and Assistance
  • Worker’s compensation and unemployment benefits
  • Any other direct money payment that represents a gain or benefit not falling under an exemption

These Do Not Count As Income for SNAP

This list is not exhaustive.

  • Allowances, earnings, or payments to WIA program participants
  • Annual school and daycare clothing allowances, regardless of method of payment
  • AmeriCorps State and National programs under the National Community Civilian Community Corp
  • Child support collected and not passed through to household by Child Support
  • Cost of producing self-employment income
  • Crowdfunding accounts*
  • Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs) and all other tax credits– federal and state (13-ADM-02)
  • Earnings from On the Job Training (OJT) if under age 19
  • Earnings of child under 18 who attends high school or GED program
  • Educational loans, grants, scholarships for tuition, and mandatory fees
  • Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) payments
  • H.U.D. housing subsidies (e.g., Section 8 vouchers, Housing Authority unit subsidies)
  • Housing provided to employee by employer
  • Income of persons who are not members of the SNAP household
  • Income tax refunds, rebates, and credits—federal and state
  • Income under Title V of the Older Americans Act
  • Individual Development Account (IDA) contributions
  • In-kind income (things of value that are not cash)
  • Insurance policy dividends
  • Interest from funeral agreements or funds
  • Irregular or infrequent income less than $20 per month
  • Legally obligated child support paid on behalf of child(ren) not living in the household
  • Loans (including educational)
  • Lump sum or one-time payments
  • Military combat pay
  • Monies for care and maintenance of third-party beneficiary who is not in the household
  • Non-cash benefits from other federal programs such as WIC or school meals
  • New York Achieving a Better Life Experience Accounts (ABLE)
  • Payments made on behalf of a household member to a third party (vendor payment) except payments made as part of a cash assistance grant, including Jiggetts payments
  • Payments specifically exempted by federal law (i.e. to Hmong refugees, Aleuts, World War II-related payments, etc.)
  • Payments to relocate
  • Payments to volunteers under Title II of the Domestic Volunteers Services Act (i.e., RSVP, Foster Grandparents, Senior Companion, and senior health aide programs)
  • Private charity income under $300 in three months
  • Public Assistance Restaurant Allowances by voucher or direct to vendor
  • Reimbursements for other-than-normal non-living expenses, e.g. medical, special work clothes, car use for work
  • Reimbursements for training-related expenses
  • Reverse mortgage income
  • SSI PASS account income
  • Work-study income funded through the Higher Education Act
  • VISTA income, but only if the household was on TA or SNAP when they entered VISTA (GIS 17 TA/DC 040)

*This is true even if the funds in the crowdfunding account are used only to pay a deductible expense like medical bills or shelter costs. In such a case, the SNAP office would deduct the allowable expense as part of the regular SNAP budget process.

How To Calculate Monthly Totals for Income and Deductions

SNAP budgets are calculated based on monthly figures for income and deductions. SNAP defines one month as 4.33 weeks. Calculate monthly totals income as follows:

If income is received/deduction is paid:
Weekly: multiply by 4.33
Every other week: multiply by 2.17
Twice per month: multiply by 2

Gross Income, Adjusted Gross Income, and the Gross Income Test

Gross Income is the household’s monthly earned and unearned income added together.

Adjusted Gross Income is calculated by subtracting any legally-obligated monthly child support paid by a household member from the household’s gross income. This is the household’s countable monthly gross income.

Gross Income Test (GIT)
Households without an elderly or disabled member must pass a Gross Income Test.  If the household’s adjusted gross income exceeds the correct Gross Income Test (GIT) are not eligible for SNAP. See the FPL Monthly Gross Income Test chart.

Households with at least one elderly (age 60+) or disabled member who exceeds 200% GIT, or who is not categorically eligible, do not have to meet a GIT.

Income of Non-household Members

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The income of people who are not part of the SNAP household does not count. However, income may still count if it is earned by people who live in the household but are ineligible for SNAP:

  • Ineligible students—income does not count
  • Sanctioned individuals—income is counted
  • Ineligible non-citizens—income is prorated

See Advanced Budgeting for more details.

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