Exclusions from Income when Determining LIHEAP Eligibility
TO: LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LIHEAP) GRANTEES AND OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES
SUBJECT: Exclusions from Income when Determining LIHEAP Eligibility
RELATED REFERENCES: The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act, Title XXVI of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, (Public Law 97-35), as amended; the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, (Public Law 111-5); and LIHEAP IM-2010-1.
PURPOSE: To advise grantees of additional exclusions from income required through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 when determining income eligibility for LIHEAP recipients, and to provide a list compiled by the Social Security Administration of Federal benefits and other resources that should be excluded from income when determining income eligibility.
BACKGROUND: Section 2605(b)(2) of the LIHEAP statute identifies those households who may be eligible to receive LIHEAP assistance. The statute provides grantees with the flexibility to include as eligible all of those households identified in the law, or to limit eligible households to a smaller group. Although the law allows categorical eligibility (such as those households receiving assistance through TANF), grantees must also offer eligibility to households on the basis of income, as required by Section 2605(b)(8) of the LIHEAP statute. The LIHEAP statute does not specify what types of household income should be counted when determining income eligibility. What will be counted as income is left to each LIHEAP grantee to determine, except for those program benefits and resources that are mandated to be excluded from income when determining eligibility for Federal programs.
CONTENT: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) identifies additional exclusions from income relating to unemployment compensation payments and payments to recipients of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Railroad Retirement Benefits, and Veterans Disability Compensation for Pension Benefits.
Increase in Unemployment Compensation Benefits
Section 2002(b)(1) of the Assistance for Unemployed Workers and Struggling Families Act, Public Law 111-5, Title II, Subtitle C, provides:
[T]he amount of regular compensation (including dependents' allowances) payable for any week shall be equal to the amount determined under the State law. plus an additional $25.
With regard to the additional $25 payment provided above, an exclusion from income for certain programs is provided below.
Section 2002(h) of Public Law 111-5, Title II, Subtitle C, provides:
The monthly equivalent of any additional compensation paid under this section shall be disregarded in considering the amount of income of an individual for any purposes under title XIX and title XXI of the Social Security Act.
The additional $25 compensation is explicitly exempted from income determinations only for the Medicaid and SCHIP programs. Therefore, it will be at the State's discretion whether or not to count this additional benefit as income for purposes of determining income eligibility for the LIHEAP program.
Economic Recovery Payments to Certain Individuals
Section 2201(a)(1)(A) of Public Law 111-5, Title II, Subtitle C, provides payments to recipients of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Railroad Retirement Benefits, and Veterans Disability Compensation for Pension Benefits and provides:
[T]he Secretary of the Treasury shall disburse a $250 payment to each individual who, for any month during the 3-month period ending with the month which ends prior to the month that includes the date of the enactment of this Act, is entitled to a benefit payment described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of subparagraph (B) or is eligible for a SSI cash benefit describe in sub paragraph (C).
Section 2201(c)(1) of Public Law 111-5, Title II, Subtitle C, provides:
A payment under subsection (a) shall not be regarded as income and shall not be regarded as a resource for the month of receipt and the following 9 months, for purposes of determining the eligibility of the recipient (or the recipient's spouse or family) for benefits or assistance, or the amount or extent of benefits or assistance, under any Federal program or under any State or local program financed in whole or in part with Federal funds.
Therefore, the $250 payment shall not be considered income or a resource when determining income eligibility for LIHEAP within the time period specified above.
Other Income Exclusions
The Social Security Administration periodically compiles a list of Federal benefits and resources that shall be excluded from income. This list may be helpful for LIHEAP grantees when determining exclusions from income for LIHEAP households. We are providing the list as an attachment. You may also access the list from the Social Security Administration's website at: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/418/418-3325.htm.
INQUIRIES TO: Ms. Charlotte Abney, Energy Assistance Program Specialist Division of Energy Assistance Office of Community Services, ACF, HHS 370 L'Enfant Promenade, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20447 Telephone: (202) 401-5334 Fax: (202) 401-5661
Nick St. Angelo
Division of Energy Assistance
Office of Community Services