Best Estimate Guide

Revised March 25, 2011


CONSIDER Use information from the client, pay stubs, statements from employers, and other available proof of income to answer the following:
Rate of Pay:
  • Does the client receive a salary or an hourly wage?
    • If hourly, what is the hourly wage and how many hours does the client work each pay period?
  • Is the client paid by the piece?
    • If paid for piecework, how much is the client paid for each piece and how many pieces do they normally complete each pay period?
  • Does the client receive tips or commissions?
Pay Dates:
  • What are the client's pay periods?
  • What are the client's pay dates?
  • Is the client paid on the same day each week?
  • Is the client paid on specific days of each month?
Past Income:
  • If unable to anticipate expected hours or pay rate, look at past income:
    • Do the last 3 months represent what the client should get?
    • Do the last 30 days represent what the client should get?
  • Should special circumstances be considered when looking at past income?
    • If the client has a new job, is there a partial first check?
    • Does one of the pay periods include a time the client had leave without pay due to illness or other reasons?
    • Did one pay period include overtime because the client worked extra hours for a sick co-worker?
    • Is the income higher or lower than normal due to seasonal fluctuations?
Recent Changes:
  • Has the client recently lost their job?
    • When will the client get their last check?
    • Will the client get any money from "cashing out" vacation, sick pay, or retirement benefits?
    • Will the client get any severance pay, unemployment compensation, or retirement benefits?
  • Has there been a recent employment change:
    • From full-time to part-time?
    • In the number of hours worked?
    • In the client's wage or salary?
    • From one job to another?
  • Has the client received overtime pay or bonuses?
  • Have there been other changes that would impact eligibility or benefit level?
Changes Expected During the Certification Period:
  • Are the hours going to go up or down?
  • Is the income ending?
  • Has the client’s job just started?
  • Will they receive more paychecks next month than they did this month?