WAG 13-01-08-a: Housing Costs

PM 13-01-08-a

Do not allow utility expenses incurred separately from rent as a housing cost.

Example 1: Ms. K rents an apartment for $450 per month which includes all utilities. She does not have a telephone. Allow $450 as rent. She does not qualify for a utility standard.

Example 2: Ms. D lives in an apartment that rents for $550 and includes heat. Her landlord charges an additional $5 pet fee to her rent. She also pays electric $50, garbage $15, and water $25 to the landlord. Ms. D has her own cell phone. She does not have air conditioning. Ms. D's total rent is $555. Allow the Limited Utility Standard for the utility charges.

Group Home Residents

Use the portion of the client's income that the group home keeps as shelter expenses. Count the rest of the amount the group home keeps as a medical expense. Accept the group home's statement as verification of shelter expenses.

Example: Ms. G lives in a group home. She is employed and earns $120 per month. Her monthly SSI check is $564. Between her earnings and SSI check, the group home keeps a total of $547 for her care. The group home states that $250 is for shelter expenses. Enter $250 for shelter expenses on the Expenses page in IES  and $297 as an allowable medical expense.

new manual textDormitory Costs (without meals) Paid by Students of Higher Education

  • A student is considered a resident of an institution and is ineligible for SNAP if they live in the dormitory or other college housing and purchase a meal plan that provides more than 50% of their daily meals (21 total weekly meals).. Meal plans may vary by student or institution and it is necessary for workers to discuss the circumstances and eligibility of each student on a case-by-case basis during the interview.
  • A worker should only allow dormitory costs paid by an eligible student as a shelter expense deduction if the dormitory costs are solely for shelter and does not include meal fees as part of the costs.
  • If a student claims the expense as a deduction, discuss the amount of the expense and whether meals are included in the costs and how the student paid the expense. Document the details of the discussion in Case Comments and upload verification to the Electronic Case Record (ECR).
  • Only request verification if it cannot be determined if the student pays for their own dormitory costs and/or meals are included in the costs. The student may provide their dormitory/meal plan contract, or proof from their school or any other source that verifies the information that is needed. 

Note: See PM 03-04-03 for students of higher education and meal plan eligibility.