Both state and federal public housing have rules stating that certain income should be ignored, or excluded, when determining your rent. These are called exclusions. Exclusions are not counted when calculating your gross or annual income.
Both state and federal public housing
Regular payments from
- Food stamps,
- Fuel assistance,
- Payments under the SSI PASS (Plan for Achieving Self-Support) Program,
- Payments under the Domestic Volunteer Services Act of 1973.
Certain one-time (or lump sum ) payments
- Irregular gifts, inheritances, life insurance proceeds,
- Payments from insurance, worker's compensation, or court judgments or settlements that compensate for loss or personal injury..
Earnings of the following people
- Live-in attendants for person with a disability,
- Members of armed forces in a war zone.
Earned income tax credit refunds
Return of capital
A return of all or some of your original investment from sale or transfer of that investment
Payments from the government later reimbursed to the government
For example, if you receive SSDI benefits of $800/month, but the Social Security Administration deducts $50/month for an earlier overpayment, then your rent is based on $750/month SSDI.
State public housing only
If you live in state public housing, the following income is not counted:
Compensation for income lost
when tenant was not living in public housing (including lump sum payments).
from state or federal relocation funds.
Scholarships or stipends for housing paid by a non-household member (for full-time or part-time students).
Payments associated with training for employment programs to cover costs such as transportation, fees, books, or child care during training. (This does not apply to wages from on-the-job training.)
Earnings of the following people:
- Full-time student 18-25 years old (who is not head of household or spouse).
- A senior (over 62) working over 20 hours per week at minimum wage.
- People who started working who received government cash assistance
for 12 months before working. See If I work and my rent increased a lot, what can I do?.
- Amounts paid to a veteran for tuition or other costs.
- All but $1,800 received from federal government by unemployable disabled veteran (discretionary).
Federal public housing only
If you live in federal public housing, the following income is not counted:
Deferred Social Security and Veteran’s Affairs (VA) disability
Deferred payments from SSI and SSDI and VA disability that are either lump sum payments or in prospective monthly amounts. (While this amount is not counted as income, it becomes an asset. See How are lump sums calculated? & Are assets counted as income?.)
Property tax rebates and capital gains
- Foster care for children or adults;
- Adoption assistance payments over $480;
- First $200/month of a resident service stipend (includes resident commissioners
- Payments to crime victims;
- Certain payments from federal programs: AmeriCorps, Job Training Partnership Act, Workforce Investment Act, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act, the Older Americans Act of 1965 (senior aide program
- Reparations for persecution during Nazi era;
- Certain repayments to Native Americans.
- Certain assistance or work-study paid to student or the institution,
- HUD-funded training programs,
- Incremental earnings when participating in an employment training program.
Reimbursements of out-of-pocket expenses (clothing, special equipment, transportation, child care) in order to participate in specific training programs.
Payments by a state agency to a family member with developmental disability for costs of services or equipment to keep family member at home.
Earnings of the following people
- Full-time student earning more than $480 who is over 18 (and not head of household or spouse,
- People who start working who meet certain requirements. See If I work and my rent increased a lot, what can I do?.
42 U.S.C. § 8624(f)(1) which states home energy assistance payments or allowances shall not be considered income for any purposes under federal or state law. Also see, Federally Mandated Exclusions from Income at 77 Federal Register 20318, 20319, April 20, 2001..
You can find the current minimum wage in Massachusetts at: www.mass.gov by typing into the search box "minimum wage."