Household

Created on: 
Feb 01 2016

Table of Contents

Related WACs and Clarifying Information

Child Care Subsidy

Seasonal Child Care

Additional Information

What is acceptable verification of household composition?

The Department will only request verification of household composition if what a client has reported is questionable. The client may be asked to provide one of the following as verification:

  • A statement from a landlord listing everyone who lives in the client’s home.
  • Signed, written statements from collateral contacts who are willing to attest to the client’s living situation.

Who is counted as part of a household?

The client, any of their natural or adopted children in the home, and their spouse and/or the parent of any of the children living in the home are counted as part of the household. Extended family members are not counted.

Example: A female client has three children. The father of one of the children also lives in the home, along with the client’s mother. The client is not married to the father, but because they live together and have a child in common, both the client and the father are included in the household which also includes the three children.  This is so even though the father is not the natural or adopted parent of the other two children.
Example: A married client with two children applies. The two children are from a previous marriage and are not the natural or adopted children of the spouse. This is a household of four: The client, the spouse, and the children. This is so even though the spouse is not the natural or adopted parent of either of the children.
Example: A pregnant client applies with her boyfriend and her daughter. Her boyfriend is not her daughter’s father, but is the parent of the unborn child. This is a household of two: the client and her daughter. This is because the boyfriend is neither married to the client nor the parent of the child who has already been born. However, when the client reports that the unborn child is born, the boyfriend and the newborn are added and this becomes a household of four. 

What if the other parent is temporarily out of the home at the time of the application?

At application and reapplication, if one parent is out of the home either voluntarily or for employment requirements, both parents are included in the household. The Department must verify that the other parent is participating in an approved activity while away. The other parent’s income will be counted when determining eligibility, but their schedule will not. If the parent that is away is not in an approved activity, the household is not eligible, and the application will be denied.

Incarcerated Parent

At application and reapplication, an incarcerated parent is not included in the household. However, if the parent is expected to be released and return to the home within 30 days of application, they are included. The Department may verify incarceration by searching for the other parent in the proper county’s jail roster.  The incarcerated parent must be entering an approved activity upon release, or the application will be denied.

Out of the Country

If the parent is deported, under INS instruction to leave, or is waiting to enter the country legally, the Department will not consider the absent parent as part of the household.  If the parent who is out of the county sends money to the client the income will be counted as child support.

If a parent voluntarily leaves the country, such as to visit a relative, the parent and the income is counted as part of the household.  This household is not eligible for child care.

What verification is needed to show that a child is still in high school?

If a child is 18 years old and still in high school, they are counted in the household. When they graduate or turn 19 years old, they will no longer be counted. Clients do not need to provide verification whether their child is still in high school or not; a written or verbal statement is sufficient. All that is needed is to know when the child is expected to graduate.

What is needed to verify shared custody?

Shared custody does not affect eligibility, but it may affect the payment authorization.

If a client has shared custody of the children with the other parent, they can verify this verbally or in writing. If their arrangement changes, they may report this themselves.

Third-party verification is only needed if a statement is questionable. Verification may include court documentation, informal records between the parents, or collateral contacts.

What is needed if a client is acting in loco parentis or as a non-needy relative?

When an adult who is not a child’s parent has taken over the care and control of the child, they are defined as in loco parentis or non-needy relative. Clients acting in loco parentis do not need to receive a TANF child-only grant to be eligible for child care. Non-needy relatives will normally be receiving a TANF grant on behalf of the child.

In an in loco parentis/NNR case, the Department only counts the income of the children. The guardian’s income is not counted, but must be in an approved activity to be eligible for child care subsidy benefits. If the guardian receives any income or a TANF grant on behalf of the child, this is counted as the child’s income.

The Department must verify the custody arrangement before approving the child care subsidy application. When current verification is not in the case record, the Department will send a letter to the client requesting that they provide proof of the custody arrangement. Verification could include court documents signed by a judge, court order, or an informal written agreement between the two parties.  If verification is not received, the request for child care subsidy will be denied. 

The Department will need to determine if there is a legal order or an informal agreement regarding custody of the children. The type of custody and documentation will determine whose information is needed to determine eligibility.

  • Permanent Custody Orders (“legal guardianship”, “3rd Party Custody” or “Dependency Guardianship”) are final court orders signed by a judge.
    • These are generally effective until the child turns 18.
    • If permanent custody has been awarded to two adults (e.g. grandma and grandpa), both adults must be in approved activities. The Department considers both activity schedules to determine when care is needed.
  • Temporary or Emergency Custody are legal documents, signed by a judge.
    • These typically have an expiration date.
    • If the guardian is married, only one of the spouses must be in an approved activity.
  • Informal Written Agreements are signed and dated by the biological parent and caregiver assuming custodial responsibility for the children.
    • These typically have an expiration date.
    • If the guardian is unable to get a written statement from a biological parent, we are able to use collateral (third-party) statements to verify guardianship.
    • If the guardian is married, only one of the spouses must be in an approved activity.

If any documentation the Department has on file is expired or not current or if the client states that there is newer verification, the Department will request more current verification.

If either of the biological parents lives in the guardian’s home, then the non-needy relative is not eligible to apply for benefits for the child because the parent is considered to be available to care for the child. The parent must apply for benefits.

  • Exception: When a minor parent lives with the legal guardian of his or her children, the minor parent is not considered the client. The minor parent is not counted in determining family size for income eligibility and the minor parent’s ability or availability to provide child care is not to be considered.

To count as one in loco parentis/non-needy relative household, all of the children must be half- or full-siblings. If the children are related in any other way (e.g. cousins) or not at all, the household will be considered as separate cases as necessary to include only half- and full-siblings. In this way, a client may end up with multiple cases.

Example: A client has custody of three of her grandchildren. Two of them have the same mother. One has two completely different parents from the other two. This would be two NNR cases: one with the first two children (because they have the same mother), the other with the other child.
Example: A client has custody of her niece and two nephews. The niece is the child of John and Jane. One of the nephews is the son of John, but not Jane. The other nephew is the son of Jane, but not John. Even though the two nephews are not related, this is considered one household because the niece shares a parent with both of the other children.

In addition, a client applying for Child Care Subsidy benefits for their own children in addition to any other children whom they have custody of will have separate cases for their own children and the other children in their custody. Different verification may be required for each case.

Example: A client has two natural children and has custody of her niece. She applies for child care for all three children. The client and her two natural children are counted as one household while the niece is her own household. The client’s income would be needed for her own case, but verification that she is employed would be needed for her niece’s case.
Example: A client has one son and has custody of her two nieces. The two nieces do not share any parents. This client will have three separate cases: one for herself and her son, and one each for her nieces. This client will need to verify her income for the case with her and her son, and her custody and employment for both of her nieces’ cases.