TN 64 (03-10)
SI 00835.480 Contributions Toward Household Operating Expenses
Regulations, 20 CFR 416.1103(f) ; 20 CFR 416.1133
A. Policy regarding contributions
1. Definition of contribution
A contribution is the amount of cash an individual spends on household operating expenses as defined in SI 00835.465. The amount the individual contributes must be from his or her own income and resources.
2. Basis for living arrangement and ISM determination
The dollar amount of an individual's contribution toward household operating expenses is compared to the value of the food or shelter or both received from within the household to determine whether the individual receives countable in-kind support and maintenance (ISM) from inside the household. If the dollar amount of an individual's contribution equals or exceeds the value of the food or shelter or both received from within the household, the individual does not receive countable inside ISM and is determined to be in his or her own household based on sharing. For more information on sharing see SI 00835.160.
3. Loan as a contribution toward household expenses
If the individual is financially unable to contribute toward household expenses, food or shelter or both may be provided as a loan that the individual is required to repay. The monthly amount that the individual is required to repay under the loan of ISM agreement is the individual’s contribution amount. For loans of ISM see SI 00835.482.
4. Contributions from a deemor
An excess contribution from a deemor that is allocated to the individual is considered to be from the individual's own funds. For more information on determining an individual’s contribution amount see SI 00835.210B. A deemor’s contribution to the household expenses may also be the result of a loan agreement, as described in SI 00835.480A.3. in this section.
B. Policy for types of contributions
The following are contributions for purposes of determining inside ISM:
direct payment of a household operating expense (e.g., paying the rent);
cash payments to the householder or other responsible person towards the household expenses listed in SI 00835.465;
an obligation to pay for the value of food or shelter or both received under a bona fide loan agreement described in SI 00835.482;
if the householder agrees, payments towards any expenses of the household or personal expenses of the householder. The payments can be for household expenses other than the ten household operating expenses listed in SI 00835.465D.1.
EXAMPLE: Cash contributions and services provided
Ann Thomas, an SSI recipient, lives with her brother in his apartment. Every month she:
pays his car payment of $195 in lieu of contributing to the household expenses;
pays him $10 every month as reimbursement for the gasoline used while she runs personal errands; and
provides housekeeping services they both allege are worth $50 a month.
The CR correctly determines:
Ms. Thomas' average monthly contribution is $195; and
The $10 reimbursement for gas and the value of the services cannot be included as part of her contribution because neither is a cash contribution towards the household operating expenses nor towards the personal expenses of the householder.
C. Policy regarding payments not considered contributions
The following are not contributions for purposes of determining inside ISM:
money spent by the eligible individual for food if separately purchasing his or her food;
food purchased by the eligible individual using food stamps, or the value of the food stamps themselves;
payments by an eligible individual who is also the householder towards expenses other than the ten household operating expenses listed in
payments by an eligible individual who is not the householder for expenses other than the ten household operating expenses unless the exception applies in the fourth bullet, in SI 00835.480B.;
services (e.g., mowing the lawn, housekeeping);
payments made by a trust to a vendor for food or shelter on behalf of the eligible individual per SI 01120.200; or
income or resources that an eligible individual transfers to a provider of food and shelter for some purpose other than as payment for food and shelter.
EXAMPLE: A member of a religious order turns over all of his or her income and resources to the order in fulfillment of a vow of poverty. The income and resources turned over to the order are not considered contributions towards the food and shelter the order provides. For more information on the policy and procedures related to taking a vow of poverty see SI 00810.700. Also, see SI 00835.710 for information on the “Church Amendment” exclusion when a third party pays for all food and shelter.
D. Procedure for determining an individual’s contribution
Follow these procedures to determine the claimant's contribution to household operating expenses.
1. Calculate average household contributions
Average the contributions made during the same time period used to obtain the average household operating expenses. This is usually the 12 months prior to the month for which the determination is being made. Assume this rule applies unless a claimant alleges a significant change in the contribution or a prepayment of the household expenses. For averaging instructions see
2. Significant change in contribution
Stop averaging contributions from past months when there is a significant change in the contribution. A significant contribution change is:
an increase in payment so that it meets the pro rata share as of a particular month; or
a decrease in payment so that it no longer meets the pro rata share as of a particular month; or
the beginning or end of a loan of ISM; or
a change to contributing only for food or only for shelter.
See SI 00835.482 for loans of ISM and SI 00835.170 for contributing only for food or only for shelter.
EXAMPLE 1: Significant change in contribution – pro rata share met
Mr. Nat reports that he increased his contribution to $200 as of December. Since Mr. Nat's new contribution ($200) exceeds the pro rata share ($150), the interviewer determines that a significant contribution change has occurred, and that, as of December, he is no longer subject to the value of the one-third reduction (VTR).
3. Prepayment of contribution
When an individual makes a payment towards the household operating expenses for a future period:
Determine the prepayment period, i.e., the number of months that the prepayment is intended to cover;
Divide the prepayment amount by the number of months in the prepayment period to determine the monthly prepayment amount;
Allocate the monthly prepayment amount to each month in the prepayment period;
Determine the monthly average contribution, if any, that does not include the prepayment amount;
Add the monthly prepaid amount to the monthly average contribution, if any, to determine the total monthly contribution; and
Verify the amount of a prepaid contribution and the month it is paid by contacting a knowledgeable adult member of the household or by obtaining a canceled check, or a receipt. Document the file using a report of contact (DROC) screen.
NOTE: Verification of the prepayment is required even if the individual is the householder or the allegation indicates that the contribution exceeds the pro rata share by $20 or more.
4. Contributions based on loans
Verify that a bona fide loan agreement exists whenever the individual alleges a contribution using borrowed cash. For more information on cash loans see
SI 01120.220. If the individual alleges a loan of ISM, see SI 00835.482.
5. Contributions by third parties
Follow these procedures to determine if third party payments are contributions.
Determine that a third party is acting as an agent when the funds contributed belongs to the eligible individual. Treat these funds as though the eligible individual contributed them. For information on income determinations involving agents see SI 00810.120.
NOTE: This includes funds belonging to the eligible individual that are proceeds of a loan and funds charged as cash income. For information on determining cash income from within the household see SI 00835.450C.
To determine the amount of the eligible individual's contribution, if any, when the contribution is made by the eligible individual's deemor, follow instructions in SI 00835.210.
6. Future contributions alleged
Do not determine that a pro rata share is met solely on the basis of an alleged future contribution or an alleged future increase in contributions. Advise the claimant to report when he or she begins contributing to the household expenses.
EXCEPTION: If the individual alleges a loan of ISM, see SI 00835.482.
EXAMPLE: Nicole Marchant, age 19, becomes entitled to SSI benefits. She lives in her parents' home (a household of three) and receives all her food and shelter from them. She alleges that she will start contributing toward household expenses when she receives her SSI benefits. She says that she does not plan to pay her parents for the food and shelter she receives from them before she actually begins receiving her SSI checks. The claims representative instructs her to notify the field office when she starts contributing to the household expenses so that her situation can be reevaluated. In the interim, she is charged with the VTR.
If Ms. Marchant alleged that she intended to repay her parents for the food and shelter she received from them, the interviewer would develop whether she had a loan of ISM, following the procedures in SI 00835.482.
E. Procedure for persons receiving TANF or BIAGA
An individual included in a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) grant, or Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance (BIAGA) grant may allege that funds from the grant were contributed to household operating expenses. Determine the individual’s portion of the contribution made with the funds by dividing the amount contributed toward the household expenses by the number of persons on the grant.
IMPORTANT: This computation applies only when determining an individual's contribution for LA and ISM purposes, not for determining his or her TANF, or BIAGA income. To determine the amount of such income, see
SI 00830.403 (TANF), and SI 00830.800 (BIAGA). Also, remember that inside ISM is not developed or counted in a public assistance household per
SI 00835.020, Definitions of Terms Used in Living Arrangements (LA) and In-Kind Support and Maintenance (ISM) Instructions
SI 00835.140, Separate Consumption
SI 00835.150, Separate Purchase of Food