Frequently Asked Questions about Farm Income and Household
Is it allowable to offset a negative farm/self-employment
income from a wage income?
No. Each source of income is to be considered separately.
People who farm or are self-employed are allowed to “offset” negative
earnings within the farm self-employment calculation. However, when their
net farm or self-employment income is a negative number, it is considered
to be zero ($0.00).
A farmer didn’t get most of his crop planted this spring
because of the
rains. The income on last year’s 1040 is not reflective of current circumstances.
Do I have to use last year’s income figures in making a determination?
No. Farmers and other self-employed individuals are to
use the information that is most reflective of the current income. If
last year’s income is not reflective (because of either a current year
gain or loss), then a projection of current income is to be made. This
can be done by subtracting the farmer’s operating expenses from the gross
How do net operating losses affect a determination?
A net operating loss cannot be deducted from the other
Are disaster payments counted as income?
No. Disaster assistance payments made as the result of
a presidentially- declared major disaster or presidentially-declared emergency
are excluded from income. This includes federal disaster unemployment
benefits received by households.
Are payments received as a result of an auction or sale
for the purposes of paying off creditors, etc. counted as income?
Any payments received in a lump sum such as that which
results from an auction or insurance settlement are not counted as income
since they are not received on a regular basis. When lump sum payments
are put into a savings account and the household regularly draws from
that account for living expenses, the amount withdrawn is counted as income.
Members of a household become temporarily separated when
the father moves to another town to take a temporary job. He intends to
rejoin the rest of the household when the job ends in a few months. During
his temporary absence he has also taken one of the children, who is enrolled
in the school in the new town. How should the application for the child
who has accompanied the father be completed with respect to household
composition and income?
When family members are living apart temporarily, the application
for each part of the household - the part that stayed, and the part that
is temporarily living apart - should be completed the same way (unless
some of the children are on Food stamps or TANF). Each application should
show all household members for the full household, and income from all
In determining household size, are students who are away
at school considered part of the household?
Students who are away at school and who receive their primary
support from the family, such as students who attend boarding schools
or institutions of higher education, must be counted as a member of the
household. Any income they receive must be counted toward household income.