Per 2SSB 5793 (2)(e):
"As allowable by federal and state law, state agencies will minimize, to the greatest extent possible, the impact of stipends and reimbursements on public assistance eligibility and benefit amounts."
Federal and state income-based programs such as those that provide assistance with housing, health care, and money for food and other living expenses typically require reporting of any earnings by the recipient of said assistance. Many people are enrolled in more than one of these programs. State agencies which plan to compensate people must consider how this may affect each of the assistance programs from which workgroup members receive assistance. Stipends and gift cards may also be considered income and could impact these benefits programs.
Washington state agencies are currently reviewing public assistance programs to eliminate benefit impact to the greatest extent possible. Until analysis is complete for a public assistance program, agencies should inform workgroup members about possible benefit impacts and recommend they contact the respective agency for benefits counseling.
Below is the chart that demonstrates which public assistance eligibility and benefit amounts are impacted by stipends and reimbursements, and which will require statutory changes in order to avoid negatively impacting a workgroup members’ benefits.
|Program||Agency||Benefit Eligibility & Amount Impact Analysis|
|Public Housing||Dept. of Commerce (COM)||Payments excluded from income determination if temporary and sporadic (received/earned no more than 3 times per year) or nonrecurring|
|Consolidated Homeless Grant||COM||Payments excluded from income determination|
|Housing Choice Voucher||COM||Payments excluded from income determination if temporary and sporadic (received/earned no more than 3 times per year) or nonrecurring|
|Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program||COM||Payments excluded from eligibility determination|
|Project-Based Voucher/Public Housing||COM||Payments excluded from income determination if temporary and sporadic (received/earned no more than 3 times per year) or nonrecurring|
|Housing Trust Fund||COM|
|National Housing Trust Fund||COM|
|HOME- Home Investment Partnerships||COM|
|Affordable Connectivity Program||COM||
Gross income: ACP verifies income through looking at tax returns or pay stubs. If tax return used as verification- would only impact if more than $600 received and 1099 generated. If pay stub used to verify, would be no issue.
Categorical eligibility: automatically eligible if participate in any of the following programs: SNAP, Medicaid, WIC, SSI, Housing assistance, Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit, Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch, Federal Pell Grant, Tribal Assistance. Visit the Do I Qualify page for more information.
|Community Services Block Grant (CSBG)||COM||Payments excluded from eligibility determination|
|Head Start||Dept. of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF)||Payments excluded from eligibility determination|
|Early Childhood Education & Assistance Program (ECEAP)||DCYF||Payments excluded from eligibility determination|
|Working Connections Child Care (WCCC)||DCYF||Payments excluded from eligibility determination|
|Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)||Department of Health (DOH)||
Income from participation is reportable for WIC and could impact eligibility. DOH provided the following options to minimize or eliminate benefit impact.
WIC confers adjunctive eligibility for participants participating in programs that might exempt this income, including:
WIC can also annualize income (over 12 months) received for a short- term engagement (e.g. time-limited and less than six months), which would reduce the risk of the participant exceeding program income eligibility guidelines.
WIC does not consider gift cards income and is allowable if not equivalent to a cash payment, like a visa card.
WIC is also requesting a waiver from USDA that would exempt this income from WIC income eligibility.
|SNAP/FAP (Food Assistance Program)||
Dept. of Social & Health Services (DSHS)/Community Services Division (CSD)
|Payments included - Federal waiver requested|
|TANF||DSHS/CSD||Payments excluded from income determination|
|Aged, Blind, or Disabled (ABD) cash assistance||DSHS/CSD||Payments excluded from income determination|
|Tribal TANF||DSHS/CSD||Currently under analysis|
|Child Support||DSHS/Division of Child Support (DCS)||Payments excluded from income withholding|
|Refugee Cash||DSHS/CSD||Payments excluded from income determination|
|Medical Assistance||DSHS/CSD||Payments excluded from income determination|
|Veterans’ nonservice-connect pension or survivors’ pension||Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA)||Income included - DVA to request change with federal VA.|
|Unemployment||Employment Security Department (ESD)||Payments excluded from income determination|
|Paid Family Medical Leave||ESD||Payments excluded from income determination|
|MAGI-Medical||Health Care Authority (HCA)||Payments excluded from eligibility determination|
|Non-MAGI Medical||HCA||Payments excluded from eligibility determination|
|Free/Rediced Lunch||Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)||Payments excluded from eligibility determination|
|Supplemental Security Income (SSI)||Social Security Administration (SSA)||SSA provided a decision that these payments must be reported but is excluded from income for SSI purposes|
|Social Security or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)||SSA||No impact - assistance not based on need|