FAA2.A The Application : 06 Determining Budgetary Units
Determining Budgetary Units
Information on this page refers to the Nutrition Assistance program Information on this page refers to the Cash Assistance program
Everyone who lives in the home is required to be on the application so FAA can determine who are the mandatory participants required to be included in the eligibility determination.
Policy
The relationship of each person in the home is used to determine who has to be included in the budgetary unit(g). The Primary Informant (PI) is responsible to inform FAA of everyone in the home even when they are not requesting benefits. The PI(g) should include everyone in the home on the application along with their age and relationship to the PI.
NOTE It is not necessary to provide citizenship information and social security numbers for nonqualified noncitizens or for anyone not requesting benefits unless they are required to be included in the budgetary unit.
FAA is responsible for determining who is a mandatory participant at each new and renewal application or when a change is reported.
Who is living in the home (also known as household composition or living arrangements) is used to determine all of the following:
Optional and mandatory participants (Those who can or are required to be included in the eligibility determination.)
Deprivation (deprived of parental care or support) for a dependent child
CA Needy Family test (The Needy Family test is used to determine whether the dependent child resides in a needy family household. For more information, see CA Needy Family test.)
For NA, verification of relationship and living arrangements is only required when questionable.
For CA, the relationship of a caretaker relative(g) or a nonparent caretaker relative(g) to each child in the budgetary unit is required to be verified and is used when determining eligibility.
See each of the following for NA participation requirements:
See each of the following for CA participation requirements:
NA Case Participation
When determining eligibility, certain persons living with an NA participant are required to be included in the NA budgetary unit. An application is not denied solely because the participant signs a statement claiming separate NA budgetary unit status when others in the household are mandatory participants. The PI has an opportunity to apply for everyone who is a mandatory participant.
Mandatory NA Participants
All of the following are considered mandatory NA participants:
Participants who normally purchase and prepare their food together regardless of their relationship.
Participants who live in the home and receive more than half of their meals in the home.
A participant and their spouse(g), when living together. The marriage may be legal or recognized as common law. All of the following participants are considered married for the NA program:
Those who present themselves as husband and wife, or present themselves as married to their friends, neighbors, and the community.
Participants who use the same name or sign a contract, such as a lease or rental agreement, as husband and wife.
Same-sex spouses when the marriage is legally recognized.
Siblings (full or half) who live together, and do not live with their parents. This only applies when all of the siblings are under age 18.
A participant under age 18 in the parental control(g) of a nonparent adult. This also applies when the participant has a child of their own living in the home.
Regardless of the child’s marital status, parents and their children under age 22 when living together. The child is considered a mandatory NA participant through the month of their 22nd birthday when living with their parent. The children under age 22 and their parents, when living together includes all of the following:
Biological Parents
Adoptive Parents
Stepparents (The stepparent relationship continues even when the biological or adoptive parent is absent for any reason e.g., deceased, divorced.)
NOTE The relationship between a biological parent and a child is severed when the biological parent puts the child up for adoption and the adoption is finalized. When a parent of a child outside the home has joint custody, see Joint Physical Custody – NA for additional factors.
Children who attend a boarding school.
NOTE These children do not need to receive more than half of their meals in the home to be considered mandatory NA participants.
Boarders living in the household who are paying less than “reasonable compensation” for room and meals are not considered boarders and are therefore mandatory participants. These participants, along with a spouse or children living with them, are considered members of the budgetary unit. The boarder cannot be a separate NA budgetary unit. Both of the following apply to reasonable compensation:
For persons whose board arrangement is for more than two meals per day, “reasonable compensation” must be an amount that equals or exceeds the maximum SNAP allotment for the appropriate size of the boarder household.
For persons whose board arrangement is for two meals or less per day, “reasonable compensation” must be an amount that equals or exceeds two-thirds of the maximum SNAP allotment for the appropriate size of the boarder household.
NOTE Participants that pay for lodging but not meals, may participate as separate households.
Optional NA Participants
Participants living together in the same home may not be required to be in the same budgetary unit when they do not meet the requirements for mandatory participants. See mandatory participants. These types of participants are considered optional NA participants and may request to be considered in separate NA cases.
All of the following may be considered as separate NA budgetary units or as nonparticipants:
Participants who live together and who purchase and prepare their food separately.
Participants who are unable to purchase and prepare their own food when both of the following apply:
The participant has a disability that prevents them from purchasing and preparing food.
The participant has others purchase and prepare their food for them.
Parents and adult children, age 22 and over, when they live together and purchase and prepare their food separately.
NOTE Adult children are eligible for separate NA case status the month after the month of their 22nd birthday.
Siblings, 18 and over, not living with their parents when they purchase and prepare their food separately.
Participants residing in separate dwellings on the same property. These participants may purchase and prepare their food together and still be considered separate NA budgetary units.
A child or sibling living in a separate dwelling or vehicle on the property of parents or siblings, when the separate dwelling or vehicle is considered the primary residence of the child or sibling.
NOTE Separate NA budgetary units cannot be allowed when the child or sibling uses the bathroom or kitchen within the home of the parent or sibling on a regular basis.
Migrant families living in separate dwellings in a camp setting who purchase and prepare their food together.
Native American families living in separate dwellings on a reservation who purchase and prepare their food together.
NA participants who temporarily reside away from home due to work or attending school may or may not be included in the budgetary unit. To be included, a participant is expected to return to the home during the NA approval period.
Participants who are both elderly (60 or over) and have a disability may normally purchase and prepare food with a household and be allowed as a separate NA budgetary unit (including their spouse, when applicable). For this to occur, all of the following conditions are required:
The elderly participant who has a disability is unable to purchase and prepare meals because of either of the following:
A disability considered permanent under the Social Security Act
A non-disease-related, severe, permanent disability
The income of the others living with the participant who is elderly and has a disability are at or less than 165% of the federal poverty level (FPL). For information and amounts, see 165% of the FPL. This does not include the income of the elderly participant who has a disability or their spouse.
The elderly participant who has a disability cooperates in obtaining all required verification.
Either of the following participants may be included in the budgetary unit when the PI chooses to include them:
Boarders(g) living with the budgetary unit and paying for lodging and meals. The boarder cannot be a separate NA budgetary unit.
Foster Care(g) participants under the care of the PI or a responsible adult in the budgetary unit. This applies even when the foster care participant is related to the NA participant. When the foster care participant is included, foster care payments are countable. The foster care participant cannot be a separate NA budgetary unit.
NA Nonparticipants
All of the following are not included in the applying NA budgetary unit, but may have a separate NA case when otherwise eligible:
Nonrelated persons over age 18 who live together when a statement that they purchase and prepare food separately is provided.
Related participants, who are not mandatory participants, when a statement that they purchase and prepare food separately is provided.
Participants serving in the military who are stationed outside of Arizona.
A migrant or seasonal farm worker may be out of the home following the crops. In this case, they are not an NA case participant. They may visit during the month and not be considered part of the budgetary unit when they do not receive most of their meals from the NA budgetary unit.
Roomers who pay for a room from the other NA participants but not meals.
Live-in attendants who live with an NA participant to provide medical, housekeeping, childcare or other similar services.
Students who do not meet the requirements of an eligible student for NA benefits. (See NA Student Eligibility)
Unborn child regardless of the trimester.
A participant is no longer considered a budgetary unit participant when any of the following has occurred:
No longer lives with the NA budgetary unit
Has been out of the budgetary unit’s home for 30 consecutive calendar days or more
Has set up a home away from the budgetary unit
Participants who live away from home and receive more than half of their meals away from home. See Mandatory NA Participants for information regarding children who are in boarding school.
NOTE Participants may be forced to live in a public or private shelter to protect themselves from abuse. When this occurs, they are considered a separate NA budgetary unit.
Joint Physical Custody – NA
When parents share joint physical custody of a child and only one parent has applied for NA benefits, the child is considered an NA mandatory participant in the budgetary unit of the parent applying.
When a budgetary unit has been determined for the child, the child remains with that budgetary unit for the entire approval period, unless circumstances change, and the child resides with a different budgetary unit.
Joint physical custody means that both parents have an equal share in the care and control of the child. Each parent has the same rights and responsibilities, unless there are exceptions included in the final court order.
A child can only be included in one budgetary unit. When both parents apply for the child and cannot decide which budgetary unit should include the child, FAA determines the budgetary unit.
CA Case Participation
Everyone living in the home of the dependent child is required to be listed on the application, even when they are not requesting CA benefits.
NOTE It is not necessary to provide citizenship and social security numbers for anyone not requesting benefits, until or unless they are determined to be a CA mandatory participant.
Proper relationship and age requirements are required between the participant and the dependent child for whom CA benefits are being requested. Once this has been established, FAA determines which of the others listed on the application are required to be included.
An adult only CA case can exist for a caretaker relative of children who meet any of the following:
Receive SSI
Receive Foster Care
Benefit Cap children
Received CA in another budgetary unit within the month the parent requests CA
Before determining eligibility for CA benefits, the Needy Family test is conducted. Once it has been determined that the child or eligible adult resides in a needy family household, the CA eligibility and benefit determination can be completed. The Needy Family test is based on the earned and unearned income of the family(g) of the caretaker relative. For more information on Needy Family requirements, see CA Needy Family test.
NOTE For purposes of the CA Needy Family test, a family is based on the caretaker relative who exercises responsibility for the dependent child. The Needy Family includes the PI and everyone the PI is responsible for, including their spouse and children. The Needy Family and the budgetary unit may include different participants.
When relationship to the child cannot be established, the child is considered a CA nonparticipant. When there is no eligible adult or dependent child in the budgetary unit, CA is denied.
Mandatory CA Participants
Certain persons living with a CA participant are required to be included in the CA budgetary unit when determining eligibility and the CA benefit amount.
All of the following are mandatory CA participants:
The dependent child
Natural or adoptive parents (including the legally presumed father) of the dependent child
NOTE A parent that does not live with their dependent child is a mandatory CA participant when the parent is only away from home due to active military duty.
Brothers and sisters of the dependent child, who meet both of the following conditions:
Full, half, biological, or adopted siblings.
Siblings under age 19, and when 18, meet the CA student criteria.
All otherwise mandatory participants, who are in a non-pay status for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Optional CA Participants
A nonparent caretaker relative (NPCR) may choose to be in the CA case when it is to the participant's advantage or at their request.
When more than one NPCR(g) are living with dependent children who are siblings, only one NPCR can be included in the budgetary unit.
More than one NPCR may be living with dependent children who are not siblings. In this situation, it is to the participants' advantage to have FAA create separate CA cases.
When a parent and an NPCR are living in the home, only the parent may participate in the CA case.
Both the parent and the NPCR may choose to participate in the CA case only when one of the following are applying for CA benefits:
A parent who is determined to be a dependent child.
A parent and NPCR with another child in common who is deprived because of unemployment or underemployment.
A parent (18 and over) who is prevented from functioning as the caretaker relative because of a verified physical or mental condition.
When the dependent child's parents are out of the home, a stepparent may apply for CA for the child. When this occurs, the stepparent may be an optional participant and choose to be included or not included in the CA budgetary unit.
NOTE An unwed minor parent (UMP), and children of the UMP who are ineligible for CA, are still potentially eligible for CA supportive services(g). Supportive services include assistance from the Jobs Program and childcare. UMP policies do not apply to Tribal TANF.
CA Nonparticipants
All of the following persons are not eligible for either CA or CA supportive services:
Minor children with no deprivation. This includes children that are not financially deprived of parental support and both parents are in the home. See Deprivation for CA for policy regarding a deprived dependent child.
Ineligible (nonqualified) noncitizen minor children.
Persons who do not meet eligibility requirements and who are not required to be included. For more information on who is a mandatory participant, see Mandatory CA Participants.
Minor children absent from the home for 30 consecutive calendar days at new application and 180 nonconsecutive calendar days during the approval period and at renewal.
Married children, under age 18 being applied for by their parent. The married minor is no longer a dependent child. Their spouse is financially responsible.
Parents and siblings of a dependent child when a Legal Permanent Guardian (LPG) has been granted guardianship of the child.
NOTE The absent parent who returns to the home is not eligible for CA when the child remains in the care and custody of the LPG.
An LPG who is not related to the child for whom benefits have been requested.
NOTE An LPG may apply for the child for whom they have been granted Legal Permanent Guardianship and the child's parent is in the home. When this occurs, the parent and any siblings not under the care of the LPG cannot participate in the LPG's CA budgetary unit. The parent and any siblings not under the care of the LPG may have their own CA case when eligible.
Adults or children receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.
Children or adults who have received CA benefits in another case in the month the caretaker relative requests CA. They are potentially eligible in the first month they no longer receive CA benefits in another case.
An unborn child, regardless of the trimester.
Children who receive Foster Care payments when the payment is intended to meet all the Foster Care child's needs. See Foster Care Payments for more information.
A person related to the mandatory dependent child but is not a mandatory participant of the budgetary unit for whom benefits are being requested.
Marital Status
The participant's marital status can be any of the following:
Divorced
Legally Separated
Married, which may refer to any of the following:
Legally married
Married by Common Law
NA participants presenting themselves as husband and wife or married
Never Married
Separated
Widowed
In Arizona, participants who present themselves as husband and wife or married are treated as married and when requesting NA, considered mandatory NA participants. (See NA Case Participation)
Hopi tribal members may be considered legally married when they have participated in a Hopi traditional wedding ceremony.
Common Law Marriage
Participants may state they have a common law marriage and may meet legally married requirements.
In some states, couples who live together are considered legally married even though no wedding ceremony was performed. Common law marriages are legal only in certain states.
States in which persons can be married by common law are all of the following:
Alabama
Colorado
District of Columbia
Georgia (when common law relationship was established prior to 01/01/97)
Idaho (when common law relationship was established prior to 01/01/96)
Iowa
Kansas
Montana
Ohio (when common law relationship was established prior to 01/01/91)
Oklahoma (when common law relationship was established prior to 11/01/98)
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Texas
Utah
Navajo tribal members may be considered married by common law.
The common law relationship continues when the participant moves to Arizona or when they move off the reservation.
Participants who move to Arizona from another state may be considered married by common law when all of the following occurred in any common law state:
The participants reside together.
The participants are adults (18 years and older).
The participants are not legally married to another person at the same time.
The participants present themselves to the community as married. This may include, and is not limited to, using the same last name, or filing a joint income tax return.
The participants express their intent to marry.
The participants established the common law relationship in accordance with time frames specified by the common law state.
When it is determined that a participant is considered married by common law in a common law state or on the Navajo reservation, FAA recognizes the common law relationship as married. This includes participants who were considered common law married prior to becoming Arizona residents and common law married Navajo tribal members who move off the Navajo reservation.
Verification
The participant has the primary responsibility for providing verification. See Participant Responsibilities – Providing Verification for additional policy.
Examples of what can be used for proof of marital status include, and are not limited to, any of the following:
System interface that FAA has with other agencies for verification purposes.
NOTE System interface cannot verify every situation.
Divorce decree
Insurance record
Legal annulment documents
Marriage license
Navajo Nation Family Court decree validating a Navajo common law marriage
Other records indicating that a participant was or is married
Religious records
Separation papers
Tribal records
Verifying relationship for CA or for NA when questionable
Examples of what can be used for proof of relationship include, and are not limited to, any of the following:
Completed Acknowledgement of Paternity (CS-127) forms
Adoption records
AHCCCS Deemed Newborn Reports (CR600)
Artificial insemination records
Baptismal records (when issued before age five)
Bio Data Sheets provided by refugees
Bureau of Vital Statistics records
Census records
Certificates of Indian Blood (CIB)
Certified birth certificates
Correspondences (letters, email, etc.) from a person to the child, or to others about the child, referring to the child as the person's own
Court orders for Kinship Foster Care
Court records
Church records, including a statement from a priest, etc.
Dependency hearing or proceeding court documents for Legal Permanent Guardianship (LPG)
Genetic testing results
Hospital or public records of birth
Insurance policies
Juvenile court records
Marriage licenses and abstract Marriage Certificates
Military records
Minute entries for Kinship Foster Care court cases
Marital Status and Family Profiles provided from Navajo Nation
Outpatient care records maintained by a hospital, clinic, or doctor
Paternity records
Records maintained by the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS)
Records maintained by the Department of Child Safety (DCS)
Verification of School Attendance (FAA-0075A) form
School records
Completed Tribal Records Request (FAA-0061A) form
Collateral contact verification may be used only to verify relationship between an unwed minor parent (UMP) and either of the following when documented verification cannot be obtained:
A Nonparent Caretaker Relative (NPCR)
A Legal Guardian (LG)
Participant statement may only be used to verify relationship between an unmarried minor parent (UMP) and a nonparent caretaker relative (NPCR) or legal guardian (LG) when all of the following apply:
Documented and collateral contact verification cannot be obtained
The NPCR or LG is not requesting CA for themself
The NPCR or LG is not requesting to be the CA payee
Legal Authorities
last revised 06/27/2022