TN 101 (09-08)

SI 00830.537 AmeriCorps and National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) Payments

Citations: Social Security Act, Section 1612(b) as amended by P.L. 110-245, Section 203; 20 CFR 416.1102, 416.1110, 416.1111, 416.1120.

A. Introduction to AmeriCorps State and National and AmeriCorps NCCC payments

Through the Corporation for National and Community Services (CNCS), the Federal Government administers a number of national and community service programs. CNCS is a Federal agency that also administers VISTA and the Service Corps programs formerly administered by the ACTION Agency. (See SI 00830.610 for ACTION Agency programs.)

1. AmeriCorps State and National

AmeriCorps State and National program is a national service program authorized by the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12500 of seq.) (NCSA). Through this program the Corporation provides grants to States, Indian tribes, private and public nonprofit organizations and Institutes of Higher Education for community service projects such as educational programs, environmental activities, and disaster relief

REMINDER: AmeriCorps State and National, AmeriCorps NCCC, and AmeriCorps--VISTA are three different programs. (See SI 00830.610 for AmeriCorps—VISTA.)

2. AmeriCorps NCCC

AmeriCorps NCCC is a residential service program for young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 in which participants provide work teams for a variety of community service projects.

3. Remuneration to participants of AmeriCorps State and National and AmeriCorps NCCC

Participants of AmeriCorps State and National and AmeriCorps NCCC receive a stipend or living allowance generally based on minimum wage requirements. Participants also are eligible to receive an educational award made upon completion of a specified term of service. The educational award is for educational assistance and must be applied to the cost of attendance at an Institute of Higher Education, or outstanding college loans. The educational award is paid from the National Service Trust directly to an Institute of Higher Education or to a loan holder for repayment of a student education loan, as directed by the participant.

NOTE: AmeriCorps NCCC participants may, with the approval of the director of CNCS, receive an alternative payment paid directly to the participant.

4. AmeriCorps State and National participants are students

AmeriCorps State and National participants are considered students for purposes of SSI if they meet the definition of a student in SI 00501.020B. Thus, the student earned income exclusion (SEIE) can apply to AmeriCorps State and National participants who have wages. The SSI definition of a student in SI 00501.020B includes individuals who are in a course of training to prepare them for a paying job and who are attending that training for a certain number of hours a week as described in SI 00501.020D. The training includes anti-poverty programs such as the Job Corps and government-supported courses in self-improvement. The AmeriCorps State and National program fits the description of a government-supported course in self-improvement. As such, participants in the program who meet the SSI definition of student can qualify for the SEIE as provided in SI 00820.510.

NOTE: These instructions only apply to payments made prior to September 1, 2008. On or after September 1, 2008, all proceeds from AmeriCorps State and National and AmeriCorps NCCC are excluded from income.

B. Policy - AmeriCorps State and National and AmeriCorps NCCC payments effective with benefits payable on or after September 1, 2008

1. Policy - exclusion

Effective with benefits payable on or after September 1, 2008, cash or in-kind payments provided by AmeriCorps State and National or AmeriCorps NCCC are excluded from income for SSI purposes, even if they meet the definition of wages.

Such payments include, but are not limited to:

  • Living allowance payments

  • Stipends

  • Food and shelter

  • Clothing allowance

  • Educational awards

  • Payments in lieu of educational awards.

2. Policy - living arrangements/temporary absence

Participants are considered to be in LA/A. Temporary absence rules do not apply for living arrangement purposes.

C. Policy - AmeriCorps State and National and AmeriCorps NCCC payments for benefits payable prior to September 1, 2008

The treatment of payments made under AmeriCorps State and National and AmeriCorps NCCC is determined by the type of payment received.

1. Living allowance payments

Stipends or living allowance payments are wages and are subject to the general rules regarding wages and earned income exclusions.

2. Food and housing shelter

Any food or shelter received by participants is not wages, but is earned income in the form of in-kind support and maintenance (ISM) subject to the presumed maximum value (PMV) (SI 00835.300). These items are ISM whether provided by the employer or by others.

3. Clothing/clothing allowance payments

  • Beginning March 9, 2005, any clothing received is neither income (see Bills Paid by a Third Party, SI 00815.400) nor in-kind support and maintenance (ISM). (See food or shelter that is remuneration for wages but is not wages (SI 00835.390.)

  • Before March 9, 2005, any clothing received is unearned income and subject to the general rules regarding unearned income and exclusions.

4. Living arrangement (LA) temporary absence

Participants are considered to be in LA/A. Temporary absence rules do not apply for living arrangement purposes.

5. Educational awards

Educational awards are considered wages but are subject to the income exclusions allowed for grants, scholarships and fellowships. This means that any portion of a grant, scholarship or fellowship used for paying tuition, fees, or other necessary educational expenses is excluded from income for SSI beneficiaries considered students. This exclusion does not apply to any portion set aside or actually used for food or shelter. (See grants, scholarships, fellowships, and gifts - SI 00830.455.)

6. Payments in lieu of educational awards

Any payments made as an alternative to educational awards are wages and are subject to the general rules regarding wages and earned income exclusions.

D. Procedure for AmeriCorps State and National and AmeriCorps NCCC payments effective for benefits payable on or after September 1, 2008

1. Verification

Verify the payment was provided by AmeriCorps State and National or AmeriCorps NCCC by using documentation in the individual’s possession or contacting AmeriCorps State and National or AmeriCorps NCCC. Accept the individual’s allegation of amount(s) and date(s) of receipt.

2. Documentation

Document the verified information, including type of payment, amount, date received, contact information, or documents in the individual’s possession, on a locked MSSICS DROC screen, EVID screen, or fax the documentation (i.e., SSA-5002) into the Non-Disability Repository (NDRED), or the Certified Electronic Folder (CEF)) or the electronic folder (EF), as appropriate.

3. Systems input

In MSSICS situations, for income that would have been considered earned income prior to September 1, 2008 (e.g., living allowance), enter such income as wages on the IWAG screen and deduct the same amount from wages on the same screen. In OTHER DEDUCTION AMOUNT REASON state “AmeriCorps Exclusion”. This should help to resolve interface alerts.

In non-MSSICS situations, use an SSA1719B to add a remark to the SSR indicating the receipt of the income and the exclusion (SM 01301.841, SM 01301.900).

E. Procedure for AmeriCorps State and National and AmeriCorps NCCC payments effective for benefits payable prior to September 1, 2008

Document and evaluate AmeriCorps State and National and AmeriCorps NCCC payments under the general rules of wages and unearned income.

F. References


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830537
SI 00830.537 - AmeriCorps and National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) Payments - 03/12/2010
Batch run: 03/12/2010
Rev:03/12/2010