MR #20.02: 2020 Census Short Term Employment

Illinois Department of Human Services Logo
  Healthcare and Family Services Logo



  • Effective January 1, 2020 the Department will begin participating in a demonstration project that will exempt earned income received through employment with the U.S. Census Bureau for the 2020 Census.
  • Income received from the U.S. Census Bureau for the 2020 Census short term employment is exempt for all Cash, Non MAGI Medical, and SNAP assistance.
  • Federal regulations do not allow a disregard of temporary census income from MAGI medical cases.
  • 2020 Census employment income must be correctly entered into IES.
  • 2020 Census employment may be used to stop the TANF counter.
  • A copy of the client notice announcing 2020 Census with information about applying for a census job is attached.

The United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Services has allowed Illinois to participate in a demonstration project to align SNAP policy with Cash and Medicaid policy to exclude earned income from the 2020 Census. Excluding the earned income of temporary census employees assists the U.S. Census Bureau with staff recruitment while allowing individuals to gain valuable work experience without a reduction in SNAP benefits.

Census Income Exempt for Cash, Medical, and SNAP Assistance

Income earned from the 2020 Census is exempt for all Cash, Non MAGI Medical, and SNAP assistance programs. Income earned from the 2020 Census may be considered exempt for SNAP from January 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020. Income earned from the 2020 Census is exempt for Cash and Non MAGI Medical without date restriction.

Census Income and MAGI Medical

Temporary census income is taxable as employment income. Federal regulations do not allow temporary census income to be disregarded for MAGI medical cases. Instructions on budgeting the income using a reasonably predictable changes methodology to mitigate the impact on eligibility for this group will be provided separately from this manual release. 

Census Income Reporting for SNAP

In order to exempt the temporary 2020 Census income for SNAP, the Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) requires the Department to report the number of households, the number of months, and the total SNAP benefits received in those households that work temporarily in the 2020 Census. Income received from the U.S. Census Bureau for the 2020 Census must be recorded in IES correctly so that the Department can gather this information.

Recording the 2020 Census Income in IES

Workers need to properly enter the 2020 Census income in IES for the below screens. 

IES Screens Worker Action



Enter Employer Name as

2020 Census



Employment Type

select: Census Income

Census Employment Hours Count for TANF Participation

Although the 2020 Census income is exempt for TANF, this type of work can be used to stop the customer's clock for the TANF 60-month limit. 

ABE Changes

Effective January 1, 2020 a new message will appear in ABE. When the customer applies for benefits, reports new income or an employment change in ABE Manage My Case a message will display  If you are employed with the U.S. Census Bureau for the 2020 Census please list the name of your employer as "Census". The gatepost question for employment will be triggered in IES and the worker must view the associated pdf and enter 2020 Census employment information.

A copy of the client notice CN 19.14/19.04S (pdf) is attached.

Manual Revisions

PM 08-01-01-l

PM 08-02-02-g

PM 08-04-01-k

[signed copy on file]

Grace B. Hou

Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services