PM 04-05-03.

The following examples show how FS unit policy applies to different family situations.

Example 1: Mrs. Q lives with her 25 year old daughter. She buys food and prepares meals separately from her daughter. Mrs. Q and her daughter each qualify as separate FS units because they buy and prepare food separately.

Example 2: Mrs. S moves in with her sister and they share housing expenses. They buy and prepare food separately because Mrs. S works nights. Mrs. S and her sister are separate FS units because they buy and prepare food separately.

Example 3: Ms. W and her child receive TANF. Ms. W reported that her child's father, Mr. M, moved into the home. Ms. W states that she buys and prepares food separately from Mr. M. Ms. W and Mr. M are not married and Mr. M's name is not listed on her child's birth certificate. Since paternity has not been legally established, Mr. M cannot be added to the TANF case.

Since Ms. W states that Mr. M is her child's father, Ms. W, her child, and Mr. M must all be included in the same FS unit.

Example 4: Ms. R, age 16, lives with Mrs. X. Mrs. X is not Ms. R's mother. Ms. R is under Mrs. X's parental control, and does not have a husband or child living with her. Ms. R does not qualify as a separate FS unit because she is under Mrs. X's parental control.

Example 5: Mrs. Z and her 19 year old daughter live together. The daughter buys and prepares food separately for herself and her child. Mrs. Z's daughter does not qualify as a separate FS unit because she is under age 22.

Parents and Children Living Together But Claiming to be Separate

When a parent(s) and child(ren) under age 22 claim to be separate FS Units because they live separately, but in the same dwelling, grant separate FS Unit status only if the following conditions are met:

  • the living quarters are totally separate, and
  • there is no shared living space.

Living quarters can still be considered separate even if there is a shared entrance (e.g., a hallway or stairway).

Example 1: Mr. J, age 20, rents a basement apartment in his parent's house. The entrance to Mr. J's apartment is a shared entrance which leads to a stairway to his apartment. Although the entrance is a shared entrance, the living quarters are entirely separate, so grant Mr. J separate FS Unit status.

Example 2: Mr. T, age 19, applies for Food Stamps. He lives at home with his parents and younger brother. He pays his parents $200 a month in rent. He buys and prepares food separately from the rest of the family. His room is on the 2nd floor next to his brother's.

Do not grant Mr. T separate FS Unit status since his room is not separate from the rest of the house (the kitchen and bathroom for the house are part of his living quarters).

NewManualMaterial.gifParents Share Joint Custody of the Child

When parents share joint custody, the child(ren) may be included in the FS unit if living at least 50% of the time with the parent that is applying for food stamps if not active on the other parent's case.  If an FS application is filed at the same time, the parents must decide which unit will include the child.

Example: Mrs. B is applying for food stamps for herself and her child K. Mrs B states she shares joint custody of the child with her ex-husband. The HSC determines that K lives with Mrs. B at least 50% of the time and is not active on another FS case. K is included in Mrs. B's FS stamp unit.

NewManualMaterial.gifTemporary Absence from the Home

A child in a TANF cash/FS case who does not live in the home is not eligible to be in the FS unit, regardless of their eligibility for TANF. This includes children remove from the home by DCFS. The length of the absence is not a factor.

Example 1: Ms. J and her daughter C are one FS unit. Ms. J reports that C is going to visit her father during the summer, but will return home in the fall for school. The HSC leaves the child on TANF, but  removes C from Ms. J's FS unit. C may be added back to the FS unit when she returns home if all other eligibility requirements are met.

Example 2: Ms. M has a TANF/FS case  for herself and her 2 daughters. DCFS sends Notice of Foster Care Placement (CFS 1868) notifying the local office that one child has been removed from the home. The absent child remains on the TANF case, but is no longer eligible to remain in M's FS unit. See WAG 04-1-08-a.