Income ownership and availability

Revised Date: 
March 6, 2015

Purpose: This section includes rules and procedures for determining whether an individual owns income, if the income is available to the individual, and what an individual must do to make potential income available.

WAC 182-512-0650 SSI-related medical -- Available income.

Effective April 14, 2014.

  1. Income is considered available to a person at the earliest of when it is:
    1. Received; or
    2. Credited to a person's account; or
    3. Set aside for his or her use; or
    4. Can be used to meet the person's needs for food or shelter.
  2. Anticipated nonrecurring lump sum payments are treated as income in the month received, with the exception of those listed in WAC 182-512-0700(5), and any remainder is considered a resource in the following month.
  3. Reoccurring income is considered available in the month of normal receipt, even if the financial institution posts it before or after the month of normal receipt.
  4. In-kind income received from anyone other than a legally responsible relative is considered available income only if it is earned income.

This is a reprint of the official rule as published by the Office of the Code Reviser. If there are previous versions of this rule, they can be found using the Legislative Search page.

Clarifying Information

  1. When recurring income is received in advance or electronically deposited in the individual's account, the income is considered available for the month it would normally be received.
    Example: A Social Security check normally received in February is electronically deposited on January 31st because February 1st is a Saturday. The income is still counted for February.
  2. Unanticipated nonrecurring lump sums cannot be counted as income in the month received because income must be budgeted prospectively. However, any amount remaining after the month of receipt is considered a resource.
  3. Income that has been anticipated in a different amount than was actually received is not an overpayment if the anticipated amount was reasonable. If the anticipated amount was based on false information or information known at the time to be incomplete, or if the department made an error in calculation, there may be an overpayment.

Worker Responsibilities

Determine if individuals have any potential income available.

Making a source of income available:

  1. If someone meets all other eligibility factors, do not delay benefits if they try to make a potential source of income available.
  2. If a person can't make a source of income available for reasons beyond their control, consider the income as unavailable to the individual.
  3. Request verification and ask for proof that the individual has tried to make potential income available. Examples of proof include:
    1. Financial Statements;
    2. Collateral Statements; and
    3. Letter from the person or company that has control of the income.
      See General Verification for information on how to ask for proof from individuals.
    4. Unemployment compensation.
      See WAC 388-406-0030 to decide how much time to allow individuals to provide the proof.

Individuals must take all needed steps to get any income (such as annuities, pensions, retirement, and disability benefits) they can receive.

  1. Individuals do not have to take steps to get the income if they can show a good reason for not doing so.
  2. Examples of benefits the individual must try to make available include:
    1. Veteran’s compensation and pensions;
    2. OASDI benefits;
    3. Railroad retirement benefits; and
  3. Refer individuals to the correct agency to apply for potential income and/or help individuals get potential income if they ask for assistance.

When the date income is available changes:

  • Budget the income for the date you expect the individual to receive the income.
  • Set an alert in ACES for the date we expect the individual to receive the income to check if the income is available.
  1. Community income:
    1. When a husband and wife live together, count the following as community income:
      1. Income in the name of the husband, wife, or both spouses;
      2. Income that the husband, wife, or both spouses have access to;
      3. Income the husband, wife, or both spouses received; and
      4. Earnings of the husband, wife, or both spouses.
  2. Separate income:
    1. Count income as separate income when the income:
      1. Was received by either spouse before marriage;
      2. Was received as a result of a gift or inheritance;
      3. Was received from separate property; or
      4. Are the earnings of the husband, wife, or both spouses when the spouses live separate and apart.
    2. Separate income becomes community income when someone puts the income into an account with community income.
  3. Jointly owned bank accounts:
    1. When an individual has a joint bank account or is holding funds for someone else, determine if the individual and the other person have a written or verbal agreement about the amount of the funds available to the individual.
    2. If the individual and the other person have an agreement, decide if the individual uses more than this amount to meet their current needs. Count the excess as available unearned income and budget it for the assistance unit.
    3. If the individual and the other person do not have an agreement, decide if the funds are available to meet the individual’s needs:
      1. Get a detailed record of the dates and amounts of money deposited into the account or given to the individual to hold for the other person.
      2. Get a detailed record of the types and amounts of payments for the other party.
      3. Consider any amount over the itemized payments for the other party as income available to the individual. Budget it as unearned income for the assistance unit.
    4. Review the individual’s circumstances at each eligibility review, reapplication, or when they report a change in the joint bank account or the source of funds.