The SNAP program treats child support payments a household member is legally obligated to pay to a non-household member as an income exclusion, or at state option, as a deduction. [7 C.F.R. § 273.9(c)(17), 273.9(d)(5), 273.10(d)(8).] California has determined that they will deduct these payments from the income. [MPP § 63-502.2(p).] As such, this deduction is taken after applying the 20% earned income deduction, but before the gross income test when applicable. [7 C.F.R. § 273.10(e)(1)(i)(B); ACL 06-31 (counties to deduct the child support payments from the household’s gross monthly income before applying the gross income test).] Federal law clearly states that alimony payments cannot be used for the deduction. 7 C.F.R. § 273.9(d)(5).
The household can only exclude from its gross income the amount that the household member must pay under a court order or other legal authority. [MPP § 63-502.2(p)(4).] Payments made to a third party on behalf of the non-household member — for example, rent, utility, etc. — under a support order are also excluded. [7 C.F.R. § 273.9(d)(5); MPP § 63-502.2(p)(5).] The household can also exclude the amount paid toward arrearages. [7 C.F.R. § 273.9(d)(5); MPP § 63-502.2(p)(6).] The household must verify the support payments to claim the exclusion. [MPP § 63-502.2(p)(2), (3).] The child support exclusion does not include alimony payments. [7 C.F.R. § 273.9(d)(5).]