SSR 81-14: SECTION 1612(b)(6) (42 U.S.C. 1382a(b)(6)) SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME -- UNEARNED INCOME -- STATE ASSISTANCE BASED ON NEED PARTLY FINANCED BY FEDERAL FUNDS
20 CFR 416.1124(c)(2)
- The claimant, who was born on April 24, 1943, applied for supplemental security income (SSI) benefits as a disabled individual in October 1978. From October 1978 through August 1979, the claimant received Aid to Needy Families with Children (ANFC) from a State department of social welfare. The ANFC payments were funded by both the State and Federal governments. When the Social Security Administration determined that these payments constituted income under the SSI program, the claimant argued that at least that portion of the payments which was funded by the State should be excluded from income as assistance based on need. Held, under 20 CFR 416.1124(c)(2), State assistance based on need is excludable from countable income only when the assistance is funded wholly by a State or by a political subdivision; therefore, because the ANFC payments were only partly funded by the State, they were not excludable as income under the SSI program.
The general issue to be decided is whether the Social Security Administration (SSA) property computed the claimant's supplemental security income (SSI) benefits for the period of October 1978 through August 1979. The specific issue is whether the payments made by a State to the claimant were excludable from income as assistance based on need under section 1612(b)(6) of the Social Security Act (the Act).
The claimant, who was born on April 24, 1943, filed an application for SSI benefits as a disabled individual on October 20, 1978. From October 1978 through August 1979, the claimant received Aid to Needy Families with Children (ANFC) from a State department of social welfare. The ANFC payments were $74.00 per month from October 1978 through June 1979 and $79,.00 per month from July 1979 through August 1979. As of September 16, 1979, the claimant was no longer included in the ANFC assistance grant. When SSA determined that the ANFC payments must be counted as income, the claimant filed a Request for Reconsideration, arguing that SSA's determination was incorrect. She further argued that at least that portion of the ANFC payments which was funded by the State should be excluded from countable income. On October 15, 1979, SSA notified the claimant by a notice of Reconsideration that its initial determination was correct.
The claimant filed a timely Request for Hearing on December 12, 1979. A report from the State's Agency of Human Services explained that the Federal matching rate in the ANFC program for the period October 1978 through August 1979 was 68.02%.
Section 1611(a)(1) of the Act provides that an individual who is aged, blind, or disabled and whose income and resources meet certain specified limits shall be considered an eligible individual for SSI benefits under title XVI of the Act.
Section 1612(a) provides that income means both earned and unearned income. This section of the Act, in part, defines earned income as wages and net earnings from self-employment and states that unearned income means all other income, including (among other things) support and maintenance furnished in cash or in kind.
Section 416.1102 of Regulations No. 16 provides, as pertinent, that "income," for purposes of title XVI, means anything received by an individual which he an use to meet his basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.
Section 416.1120 of Regulations No. 16 provides that "unearned income" means all income that is not included in the definition of "earned income."
Section 416.1130 of Regulations No. 16, in part, provides that unearned income includes support and maintenance furnished in cash or in kind.
Section 1612(b)(6) provides that, in determining the income of an individual, there shall be excluded assistance, furnished to or on behalf of such individual, which is based on need and furnished by any State or political subdivision of a State.
Section 416.1124(c)(2) of Regulations No. 16, in part, provides that assistance based on need furnished to or on behalf of an eligible individual shall not be considered in determining countable income under title XVI provided the assistance payment is funded wholly by a State or by a political subdivision of a State (including Indian tribes). When Federal moneys are provided for the assistance payment, e.g., when there is a specific Federal/State grant program, such as Aid to Families with Dependent Children under title IV-A of the Act, the assistance payment is not funded wholly by a State or a political subdivision.
A careful analysis of SSA's Regulations, including § 416.1124, reveals that State assistance based on need shall not be considered in determining countable income only when that assistance payment is funded wholly by a State or political subdivision. The clear interpretation of the pertinent laws and regulations as they apply to this case is that the ANFC payments received by the claimant were not wholly funded by the State and must necessarily be counted as income in computing her SSI benefits. Therefore, SSA's determination that the ANFC payments provided to the claimant by the State for the period October 1978 through August 1979 must be counted as income because they were partly funded with Federal money was correct.