The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Hotline Focus 05/08

Date: 
05/01/2008
Author: 
DTA

Food Stamp program: treatment of child support payments for obligor's Food Stamp case;  verification of obligor's child support obligations; Food Stamp clients only need to verify household composition if questionable.

Hotline Focus May 2008

Q. Are the legally obligated child support payments my foodstamp client is making on behalf of his children living apart from the food stamp household excluded from his countable income, or are they considered a deductible expense?

A. Once verified, any legally obligated child support payments made by your food stamp client are excluded from his countable income when performing the gross income test of eligibility.  For more information on this topic, refer to 106 CMR 363.230(O). Also, once verified, any legally obligated child support payments made by your client are deducted as an expense from the gross income when determining the food stamp benefit amount.  These legally obligated child support payments can include:arrearage amounts, health insurance, o rthird party obligations (e.g., landlord or utility company). Refer to 106 CMR 364.400(E) for more information. For information on how to enter child support payment information in BEACON, refer to A User’s Guide: Transitional Assistance Programs and BEACON, Chapter XIV-G.

Q. How does my client’s child support payment information get verified?

A. Documentation of your client’s legal obligation to pay child support, the amount of the obligation and the actual amount of his payments is a food stamp requirement. Below are some examples of acceptable verifications.Your client’s obligation to pay child support and the legally obligated amount of the payments can be verified by court or administrative order, or other legally enforceable agreement. His actual payment(s) can be verified through DOR, or by canceled checks, wage withholding statements, verification of withholding from unemployment compensation or statements from the custodial parent regarding direct payments or third party payments. Note: Documents verifying your client’s legal obligation cannot be used as proof of your client’s actual monthly child support payments. Refer to 106 CMR 361.610(J) for more details.

Q. The most recent version of the Landlord Verification Form (LL/VER Rev.1/2008) no longer includes questions regarding household member information.  Must my foodstamp client verify household composition?

A. No.  As long as the household member information reported by your client is not questionable, verification is unnecessary. If verifying food stamp household composition becomes necessary, refer to 106 CMR 361.610(K) and 106 CMR 366.320(C) for more details.

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