5101:2-16-34 Income eligibility requirements for publicly funded child care benefits.

(A) The county department of job and family services (CDJFS) shall use gross income for the purpose of determining child care income eligibility and family copayment, including gross earned income and gross unearned income.

(B) "Gross earned income" means the total amount of gross earnings received in a month by all of the employed individuals in the family including wages legally obligated to all members of the family but which are diverted to a third party.

(C) Gross earnings include payments received before taxes and other deductions by an individual for services performed as an employee, or by an individual who is self-employed.

(1) Gross earnings received by an employee means wages, salary, back pay, bonuses and awards paid by employer, commissions, severance pay, payments from job corps, work training programs, on-the-job training programs, sick leave paid as wages, annual leave, holiday and vacation pay.

(2) State temporary disability insurance and temporary workers' compensation payments are considered gross earnings when such payments meet all of the following conditions:

(a) The payment is employer-funded.

(b) The payment is made to an individual who remains employed during recuperation from a temporary illness or injury pending return to the job.

(c) The payment is specifically characterized under state law as a temporary wage replacement.

(3) Gross self-employment earnings means the total profit from a business enterprise.

(a) The total profit from the self-employment business enterprise is determined by deducting the self-employment expenses, which are those expenses directly related to producing the goods or services, from the gross receipts.

(b) Personal business and/or entertainment expenses are not allowable deductions.

(c) Individuals who are self-employed and have no countable income shall provide written verification documenting how they are meeting basic living expenses, including but not limited to, food, housing, utilities and transportation. Failure to provide sufficient documentation shall result in the denial or termination of child care benefits. This documentation shall be used in determining authorized hours in paragraph (C)(3)(d) of this rule.

(d) For approved self-employment activities, the hours applied to the publicly funded child care authorization shall be for no more hours than it would take an individual to earn the same amount of money working at the federal minimum wage. This shall be calculated by using the self-employed individual's determined or estimated monthly gross earnings divided by 4.3 weeks in a month and again by the federal hourly minimum wage. The resulting number, rounded up to the nearest whole number, is the maximum weekly hours which can be applied to the authorization for the self-employment approved activity.

(4) Individuals who are unemployed shall provide written verification documenting how they are meeting basic living expenses including but not limited to food, housing, utilities and transportation. Failure to provide sufficient documentation shall result in the denial or termination of child care benefits.

(D) Income excluded from gross earned income.

(1) The gross earnings of a minor child in the family who is a full-time student as defined by the school, unless the minor is a parent.

(2) Alimony or child support payments paid by a family member. The amount paid, up to the amount ordered, is excluded.

(3) The verified amount which is being garnished from the income.

(4) Earnings received under the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 for participation in the "Americorp Vista" program.

(5) Federal work study income as referenced in rule 5101:4-4-13 of the Administrative Code.

(6) All income, including in kind benefits, excluded under the food assistance program regulations, as set forth in rule 5101:4-4-13 of the Administrative Code.

(7) Any other income amounts that federal statutes or regulations require be excluded.

(8) Any income earned by a person receiving supplemental security income (SSI).

(E) "Gross unearned income" means the total amount of unearned income that is received in the month by all members of the family. Unearned income is income that is not gross earned income or is not gross earned income from self-employment, as defined in this rule. Unearned income includes cash contributions received by the family from persons, organizations or assistance agencies, social security administration (SSA) disability, death or retirement benefits, and child support payments.

(F) Income excluded from gross unearned income.

(1) SSI payments.

(2) Federal, state or local foster care maintenance payments.

(3) Federal, state or local adoption assistance payments.

(4) Kinship permanency incentive (KPI) payments made in accordance with the requirements of rule 5101:2-40-04 of the Administrative Code.

(5) Payments made with county funds to increase the amount of cash assistance an assistance group receives in accordance with section 5107.03 of the Revised Code.

(6) Child support payments paid by a family member for a child outside the family. The amount paid, up to the amount ordered, is excluded.

(7) Alimony paid pursuant to a court order.

(8) Contributions for shared living arrangements. These include cash payments received by a family from an individual who is not a family member but who resides in the household and shares responsibility for the household expenses through an informal arrangement. The cash payment given to the family is not available to the family because the payment represents the non-family member's share of the household expenses.

(9) Bona fide loans from any source, including rural housing loans made by federal housing administration (FHA).

(10) Experimental housing allowance program payments made under annual contributions on contracts entered into prior to January 1975, under section 23 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937.

(11) HUD community development block grant funds paid under Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 ( public law 93-383 ).

(12) Home energy assistance support and maintenance paid in cash or in-kind, public laws 97-377 (December 21, 1982), 97-424 (January 6, 1983), and 98-21 (April 20, 1983).

(13) Income tax refunds received by any of the family members.

(14) The verified amount which is being garnished from the income.

(15) Earned income tax credit (EITC) payments when received as part of an income tax refund.

(16) The value of surplus commodities donated by the department of agriculture.

(17) Benefits received under Title VII, nutrition program for the elderly, Older Americans Act of 1965, Public Law 93-150.

(18) Retroactive payments made as a result of a state hearing.

(19) Escrow accounts established or credited as the direct result of the assistance group's involvement in family self-sufficiency on or after May 15, 1992.

(20) Ohio works first (OWF) cash payment for support services, pursuant to section 5107.66 of the Revised Code.

(21) Prevention, retention and contingency (PRC) payments.

(22) The value of food assistance allotments.

(23) Money received in the form of a nonrecurring lump sum payment including, but not limited to, retroactive lump sum social security, SSI or pension benefits; retroactive lump sum insurance settlements; retroactive lump sum payment of child support arrearage; refunds of security deposits on rental property or utilities; or PRC payments not defined as cash assistance.

(24) Income excluded under the food assistance program regulations, as set forth in rule 5101:4-4-13 of the Administrative Code, unless the income is included under the provisions of this rule.

(25) Any other income amounts that federal statutes or regulations require be excluded.

(G) Calculation of the family's gross monthly income.

(1) When determining eligibility and copayment for child care benefits, the CDJFS shall calculate the family's gross monthly income.

(2) Income shall be converted into a monthly amount. All cents shall be dropped after multiplying the individual's income by the appropriate conversion factor listed in this paragraph. Hourly rates which contain cents are not rounded but are multiplied in the exact amount. Conversion shall be performed using the following factors:

(a) Income received on a weekly basis is multiplied by 4.3.

(b) Income received biweekly (every two weeks), is multiplied by 2.15.

(c) Income received semimonthly (twice a month), is multiplied by 2.

(3) If an individual has fluctuating income, the income shall first be averaged to arrive at a figure to be converted into a monthly amount, according to the following procedures:

(a) If the employed individual works the same number of hours per pay period, that number of hours shall be used in computing the individual's gross monthly income. The gross monthly income shall be computed by either using the gross earnings listed on the individual's pay stubs or by multiplying the number of hours per pay period by the hourly rate of pay. This figure is used to convert the income into a monthly amount.

(b) If the employed individual has fluctuating income, the income shall be averaged. The averaged amount is used in converting the income into a monthly figure. When possible, the CDJFS shall average the income received in the preceding four weeks.

(c) When the income from the prior four week period is not representative of current or future income, the CDJFS shall project income based on a best estimate. The best estimate shall consider the following variables which may affect the determination. These variables include:

(i) There are more than four weeks of pay stubs available and the individual states that an average of a longer period of time is more representative, because the income received in the most recent four weeks was less or greater than the average. The CDJFS shall use all available income related information for the immediately preceding three month period.

This includes situations when the individual disagrees with the use of income from the past four week period as representative of future income. The CDJFS shall use all available income related information, including the individual's projection of future earnings, to determine a representative figure. Some pay stubs reflect year-to-date earnings, which is an acceptable method of determining average income for longer than the four week period.

(ii) If there are fewer than four weeks of pay stubs available, the CDJFS shall use all available income related information to arrive at a representative figure. This includes situations when the employed individual disagrees with the use of earnings from the past four week period as indicative of future earnings.

(iii) If there are no pay stubs available because the employment is new, the CDJFS shall require written documentation from the employer. The documented amount shall be converted to gross monthly income as directed in this rule.

(4) If income is sporadic, the income for a period of one year shall be used to determine an average adjusted monthly income. An example of sporadic income is commission-based income. When income is from work that normally involves seasonal periods of unemployment, the family's adjusted monthly income shall be determined from the adjusted annual income of the family divided by twelve months.

(5) For situations in which an individual has self-employment income, the CDJFS shall determine the gross earnings for the month based on an estimate of the individual's gross annual earnings.

(a) The self-employed individual shall provide copies of the tax return from the previous year as well as current business records in order to project annual gross income.

(i) The income shown on the previous year's tax return shall be used to estimate earnings for the current and future months.

(ii) The gross monthly earnings shall be determined by dividing the previous year's tax return by the number of months the individual was self-employed the previous year.

(iii) Estimation of self-employment income shall be used when the individual has been self-employed for some time, the gross earnings have remained fairly constant, and there is no anticipated change in the individual's circumstances.

(b) If the individual contests the estimate of income from self-employment based solely on information on the previous year's tax return, the individual shall provide a projected estimate of gross earnings for the current taxable year, based upon current business records. When the individual cannot estimate gross earnings for the current taxable year based on current business records, the CDJFS shall accept the individual's best estimate. Using the individual's best estimate of income for the current taxable year, the CDJFS shall allocate one-twelfth of the gross annual income equally into each month of the taxable year.

(c) If the individual contests the CDJFS estimate of the income from self-employment based solely on information on the previous year's tax return but does not provide a projected estimate of gross earnings for the taxable year based on current business records, the CDJFS shall project the earnings based on the gross earnings listed on the previous year's tax return.

(i) If the individual does not have a tax return from the previous year, the CDJFS shall project an estimate of the individual's annual gross earnings from self-employment based on the individual's current business records. The CDJFS shall determine that one-twelfth of the projected gross earnings from self-employment shall be allocated monthly.

(ii) In the absence of both previous year's tax return and current business records, the CDJFS shall require the individual to provide a written best estimate of his or her projected annual income and expenses. The CDJFS shall then determine that one-twelfth of the projected annual gross earnings from self-employment shall be distributed into all months of the taxable year.

(H) Documentation and verification of the family's gross monthly income.

(1) The CDJFS shall document and verify all sources of income. If possible, documents used should be copied and attached to the application. If copies of documents cannot be obtained, the CDJFS shall describe the document viewed and the pertinent information contained therein.

(2) Acceptable documentation of all sources of income may include pay stubs, business records, correspondence or data from the social security administration, data from the Ohio bureau of workers' compensation and data from providers of pension benefits. If the income received is in cash without a receipt, a contact with the employer is required. The CDJFS may contact individuals or agencies with receipt of a signed JFS 01138 "Application for Child Care Benefits" (rev. 1/2014) or other signed written consent by the caretaker, in order to obtain all pertinent information regarding family income.

(3) The caretaker parent shall provide documentation of the source and amount of any income received unless such information is already available to the CDJFS. Failure to cooperate in the development of documentation for any source of income received is acceptable grounds for a delay in the processing of an application or a determination of eligibility. If this failure continues beyond thirty days from the date of application, the application shall be denied. Denial of an application does not prohibit the caretaker parent from reapplying for child care benefits.

Effective: 05/04/2014
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 02/11/2014 and 05/01/2019
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 5104.38
Rule Amplifies: 5104.38
Prior Effective Dates: 4/1/90 (Emer.), 6/22/90, 5/1/91 (Emer.), 7/1/91, 11/1/91 (Emer.), 1/20/92, 6/17/94 (Emer.), 9/16/94, 12/26/95, 10/1/97 (Emer.), 12/30/97, 1/1/99, 2/22/02, 2/1/07, 2/1/08, 7/1/2009, 8/28/2011