Department of Human Services

Families First Online Policy Manual





Table of Contents


·        A child for whom Foster care or Adoption Assistance payments are received is excluded from the AU.  The child’s income and the Foster Care/Adoption Assistance payments are also excluded from the family’s income.


·        If a minor parent’s foster care payments include the foster care costs of the minor’s child, the child is not eligible for Families First.


·        If a minor parent is receiving foster care board or adoption assistance payments but his or her child is not, do not count the income(including the board/adoption assistance payment) and resources of the minor parent in determining his/her child(ren’s) eligibility for Families First.


·        Foster care board payments made to the foster parents for the care of a foster child are not income, but are service fees.  (The amount paid to the foster parent in addition to the board payment is income).


·        Exception: If the exclusion of the child for whom adoption assistance is paid would reduce the amount of cash assistance for the adoptive family, the child must be included in the AU and his income, including the adoption assistance payment, must be counted.


·        Relocation Assistance payments received under Title II of the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Act of 1970.


·        Funds distributed per capita to or held in trust for members of any Indian tribe under P.L. 920254, P.L. 93-134, or P.L. 04-540.


·        Payments received under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (P.L. 92-203, Section 21(a); payments by the Indian Claims Commission to the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakima Indian Nation or the Apache Tribe of the Mescalera Reservation (P.L. 95-443); payments to the Passamaquoddy Tribe and the Penobscot Nation or any of their members received pursuant to the Maine Indians Claims Settlement Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-420, Section 5); payments of relocation assistance to members of the Navajo and Hopi tribes (P.L. 93-531).


·        Receipts distributed to members of certain Indian tribes referred to in Section 6, P.L. 94-114.


·        Payments from the Nutrition Programs for the Elderly (Title VII).


·        The value of supplemental food assistance received under the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (WIC), as amended, and the special food service program for children under the National School Lunch Act, as amended.


·        Payments for supporting services and reimbursements of out-of-pocket expenses made to individual volunteers serving as health aids, senior companions, R.S.V.P., Foster Grandparents and any other programs under Title II pursuant to Section 418 of P.L. 93-113.


·        AmeriCorps VISTA payments for Families First participants who were receiving Families First at the time they joined AmeriCorps VISTA.


·        Income of minor child recipients who are students.


This does not apply to minor caretakers.


Do not count the earned income of a minor full-time student.  Do not count this income in computing the grant or test it against the GIS or CNS during this period.


Note: Families First requires that all school age children attend school.  If a child is not attending school, see the School Attendance Chapter for details.  Also check this section for verification/documentation details.


A student is defined as a minor child recipient attending primary/secondary school, college, university, or a course of vocational or technical training


A student retains student status during official school vacations and breaks if requirements prior to the vacation/break were met and if the student plans to return.


A child who is receiving elementary/secondary or equivalent vocational/technical instruction from a homebound teacher meets student requirements.


Participation in apprenticeships, correspondence courses, other courses of home study, and rehab programs other than academic or institutional vocational or technical training do not qualify a child as a student.


An elementary school is defined as a state approved educational institution comprised of grades K through eight.


A secondary school is defined as a state approved educational institution offering a curriculum for grades nine through twelve.


Note: A full time student in a secondary school is defined as one who is taking an adequate grade level academic load to meet the graduation requirements for the respective school system in which he is enrolled.  Generally, this is defined as 25 clock hours/week or 4 Carnegie units per year; half time is defined as 12 clock hours/week or 2 Carnegie units per year.


An equivalent level of vocational or technical training means equivalent to elementary or secondary education.  It is not post-secondary education such as that leading to an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree.


Note: Full- time attendance in a trade, technical, or vocational school is considered to be 30 clock hours per week with shop practice or 25 hours a week without shop practice.  A part-time student is defined as one who attends 15 clock hours per week with shop practice or 12 hours per week without shop practice.


·        JTPA Payments for Adults and Minor Caretakers – Exclude as unearned income payments at all steps of the budget calculation if income is identified by JTPA as a supportive services payment and is paid for supportive services such as child care, medical and other services needed to enable the client to work; or if income is identified by JTPA as a “needs based payment” which is income that is paid to meet a basic need that the Families First grant does not cover.


·        Guardianship payments come in two types:


1.      Kinship care – enables children to be cared for by family members while in the custody of the state.

2.      Subsidized Guardianship – focuses on enabling children, who cannot be adopted, and who do not live with relatives, to have a greater degree of permanency.


These payments should be treated like Foster Care assistance payments.  They are seen as service fees, not income.


·        Payments made under P.L. 104-204 to children of Vietnam veterans (male or female) who are born with spina bifida.


·        VA payments made under P.L. 106-419, Section 401 of the Veterans Benefits and Health care Improvement Act of 2000 to children with certain birth defects born to female Vietnam veterans.  The birth defects identified may not include birth defects resulting from the following:


-        A familial disorder.

-        A birth-related injury.

-        A fetal or neonatal infirmity with well-established causes.

-        Spina bifida.  (Spina bifida is covered by previous legislature (P.L. 104-204).  It provides benefits to children with this disability born to either male or female Vietnam veterans.)


·        Payments made to individuals because of their status as victims of Nazi persecution are excluded.


·        Educational grants, loans, scholarships, stipends and/or college work study.


·        Payments made to or in behalf of a Families First AU member or a stepparent in the home or parent in the home of a minor Families First parent are excluded.


·        Exclude Agent Orange Settlement payments.


·        Earned Income Tax Credits are excluded.


·        The costs of doing business such as wages, benefits paid to employees; inventories, supplies, utilities, etc are excluded from income.


·        Clothing allowance for disabled veterans for additional clothing needs resulting from the use of prosthetic or orthopedic devices.


·        Legally obligated payments otherwise payable to an assistance unit which are diverted by the provider to a third party, unless this arrangement is made at the request of an assistance unit member.


·        Loans provided by an individual or commercial lending institution which represent an obligation and not a benefit such as chattel mortgages and personal notes, are not income.


·        Monies received and used for the care and maintenance of a non-assistance unit member, who is not the responsible relative of an assistance unit member living in the same home, are not income for the AU.  If payments are for multiple beneficiaries that include both AU and non-AU members, prorate the payments evenly among the intended beneficiaries to determine individual shares.  The individual shares of the assistance unit members (their responsible relatives) will be considered income to the assistance unit (relative).


·        Income belonging to non-assistance unit household members is not counted unless the member is a responsible relative or stepparent of an assistance unit member.


·        Reimbursements for out-of-pocket expenses by volunteers or employees in the performance of their duties are not counted as income.


·        Retroactive Families First/AFDC or SSI payments.


·        Payments that are made either directly to Families First recipients or to a third party for rent or utilities under “Section 8” of the U.S. Housing Act.


·        Payments for utilities to or on behalf of Families First recipients through the Department of Health and Human Services’ Low Income Energy Assistance Program or other federal, state, or local energy assistance plan.  Such payments must be clearly identified as energy assistance by the legislative body authorizing the program and the agency making the payment.


·        Support payments (child and related spousal support) received by an assistance unit, but transferred to the IV-D agency as assigned support.


·        Casual and inconsequential income that is $30 or less per quarter per Families First AU member.


·        The portion of the assistance unit’s income that is withheld by the provider to repay a prior overpayment is not income.


·        Any gain or benefit not in the form of money payable directly to an assistance unit such as non-monetary or in-kind benefits.  Examples are goods and services; food stamps, surplus commodities; rent or mortgage payments paid to a landlord or mortgage holder by HUD or state or local housing authorities or under section 8 of the Housing Act, etc.


·        Payments made under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for flood mitigation activities shall not be counted as income or resources of the property owner.


·          Payments made under the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund to certain veterans or spouses of veterans who served in the military of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines during World War II are not counted as income.  Bulletin 33, FA-09-19




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