Example 1 – Household with an elderly or disabled member

Answer to Example 1

Because Uncle Walter receives SSI, he is not eligible for CalFresh benefits in California, and his income and resources are not counted towards the household limits. The CalFresh household consists of Ms. Smith and her daughter.

The resource test does not apply because it only applies to aged or disabled households, households with income over 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, and to individuals disqualified because of an intentional program violation, failure to submit a semi-annual report or other narrow circumstances.  [See How many resources a household can have; ACL 14-56.]

If the resource test did apply, Ms. Smith’s car is completely excluded as a vehicle necessary to transport a physically disabled person. (In California, her vehicle regardless would be excluded as a resource because vehicles do not count a resource in the CalFresh program.) Ms. Smith’s bank account of $1,700 falls well under the $2,250 in countable resources limit for CalFresh households without any elderly or disabled members. The higher $3,250 limit for aged or disabled households does not apply here since Uncle Walter, as an SSI recipient, is categorically excluded from CalFresh eligibility, an exclusion that does not count resources.

Income and allotment

Step by step, here is how the calculations would be made:

  1. Ms. Smith’s gross monthly earned income is $850.
  2. There is no other income to add. (As an SSI recipient, Uncle Walter’s income is exempt.)
  3. Gross monthly income is $850. This falls under the maximum of $1,726 for a household of two (Ms. Smith and her daughter Jane).
  4. Gross monthly earned income is $850.
  5. The earned income deduction is $170 (20% of $850).
  6. Net earned income is $680 ($850 – $170).
  7. Subtract the $160 standard deduction, for a new total of $520 ($680 – $160).
  8. Subtract dependent care costs of $100 for Jane’s child-care provider. Now the total is $420 ($520 – $100).
  9. There is no child support payment to deduct.
  10. There is no medical cost to deduct, even though Uncle Walter has medical costs beyond $35 per month. (If he were not on SSI and therefore eligible for CalFresh benefits, the deductible medical expense would be $120 because has medical expenses over $35 per month [See Determining the Amount of the Medical Expense Deduction].)
  11. The adjusted income is $420.
  12. The family’s shelter cost is $750, not including utilities. Since Uncle Walter and Ms. Smith pool their money to pay for rent, the shelter cost is pro-rated. Per person, the shelter cost each month is $250 ($750 ÷ 3). Therefore, the housing cost for the two-member CalFresh household (Ms. Smith and her daughter) is $500 (2 x $250).
  13. The household gets the standard utility allowance (SUA) of $397.
  14. The separate telephone utility allowance (TUA) does not apply, since it is included in the SUA.
  15. The total shelter cost is $897 ($500 housing costs + $397 SUA).
  16. Half of the adjusted income is $210 ($420 ÷ 2 – $210).
  17. The excess shelter cost is $621 ($835 – $210). However, there is a cap of $535 on the excess shelter deduction. (If Uncle Walter were in the CalFresh benefits household, they could use the full excess shelter deduction, since he is “aged or disabled.”)
  18. Total countable income is $0. Because half of the adjusted income ($420) is less than the allowable excess shelter deduction ($504) from that income, “countable income” zeros out ($425 – $535 = -$74).
  19. Multiply the Smith’s net monthly income of $0 by 0.3 to determine the adjusted countable income. (CalFresh benefits presumes that 1/3 of your income is available to pay for food). The result is still $0 ($0 x 0.3 = $0). The household has $0 to pay for food.
  20. The family’s monthly CalFresh allotment is $352. (Maximum of $352 – $0 in countable income.)