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LIHEAP Income Verification Examples from States

Compiled by the LIHEAP Clearinghouse November 2013
Source: LIHEAP manuals, Program Integrity Assessments

Arkansas: All applicants and household members are checked against the State's Eligibility Information System (EIS), the Dept. of Labor (DOL), Child Support and Enforcement (CSSD) databases. If the recipient receives social security, SVES is checked. For those who are self-employed, they must submit tax returns. We will use SEVS to check proof of income, and therefore identify, for applicants who do not provide proof of social security income. As mentioned above, we also check our eligibility information system to verify the numbers.

  • We check State's Dept of Labor database.
  • We check the State's EIS system to see what they have reported to other programs.
  • We will use SVES to verify income.
  • We will use the work number to verify income if available.
  • We also request that the client send proof of income.

Arizona: Acceptable document for this is the applicant's social security card, social security award letter, or letter from the Social Security Administration attesting to the validity of the applicant's social security number.

Connecticut: As part of the department's efforts to ensure that CEAP benefits are provided only to eligible households, all CAAs have been provided read-only access to the DSS Eligibility Management System (EMS). EMS enables CAAs to confirm the identities of those applicants or household members who are either currently on or who have previously received assistance through various department-run programs including, but not limited to, Temporary Family Assistance, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Refugee Cash Assistance Program and State Supplement to the Aged, Blind and Disabled. The EMS also contains a Client Demographic screen that ensures that each social security number is valid prior to receiving approval for assistance. EMS serves as a valuable resource, assisting CAAs with verifying addresses, household composition and income. Public benefits, including child support payments, can be confirmed through the use of the EMS.

Self employed individuals must prepare a notarized statement and submit complete copies of their latest IRS 1040's with all attachments for comparison. All other forms of income, including employment, must be supported by source documentation such as paystubs, letters from pension providers, etc.

Idaho: Idaho uses SOLQ when available through the Food Stamp eligibility system, wage stubs, income tax returns and/or calls to employers to verify LIHEAP income.

Indiana: The State used pay stubs, government award letters, and direct deposit bank records to confirm most income eligibility. In cases of no declared income, the adult household member was required to get a verification printout from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Indiana's Unemployment office.

Massachusetts: DHCD's Performance Verification System shall verify Applicant and other members of the LIHEAP households' Social Security Number and other application certification related information, e.g., name, date of birth, fixed income sources and information about deceased individuals through the Social Security Administration's SVES IV database.

Montana: Montana LIEAP Policy required eligibility workers to check other state databases in an effort to verify identities, income and resources. The workers check the Department of Labor (MISTICS) which provides wage and unemployment information for household members over 16 years of age. Additionally, all household members reporting they are categorically eligible are verified through the Public Assistance (CHIMES-EA) information.

Montana has the authority to use SSA's SDX/BENDEX for informing agencies about Title II social security benefit entitlement and changes on recipients for retirement, disability, or survivor's benefits. Montana SNAP categorical eligibility will be implemented in the upcoming heating season. Income for these cases will be verified through the DPHHS SNAP system for eligibility purposes. Montana is pursuing gaining access to the new hire directory however, at the current time we have been denied access.

Oregon: Requires that all applicant files contain documentation of income for every adult household member receiving LIHEAP benefits. Documents used to verify include, but are not limited to wage/earning statements, tax statements and award letters (for benefit transfer income). Many local providers also have interagency agreements which allow them to utilize other government databases (e.g. SNAP) to cross reference and verify household income information. Oregon Housing and Community Services is currently working with State partners to access employment databasesthat will facilitate verification of LIHEAP household income. This will allow the state office to evaluate the feasibility of designing and implementing systems to access income/employment databases during LIHEAP intake processes at the local level.

Nebraska: Income of all household members must be verified. The State of Nebraska uses several electronic matches to verify the income. The matches include the State Employment Wage file (SEW), New Hire Match (NHM) Unemployment Compensation Match (IUC), Bendes (BDE-SSA), State Data Exchange (SDX-SSA) and a yearly match with Veterans Administration. Some of these matches will be used to verify the income while other matches will be used as a lead only that requires verification. A self-employed individual is required to provide the most current tax return or their daily, weekly or monthly ledgers that indicate income, expenses, etc.

Nevada: The State Directory of New Hires is reviewed for all Energy Assistance Program applicants prior to determining eligibility. This web-based computer interfaces with Nevada's Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation and is also used to verify unemployment insurance benefits and employment data.

New Jersey: New Jersey has been in contact with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to provide NJLIHEAP with access to the SSA/EVS system. Any SSNs that cannot be verified through SSA will be sent to the DCA Income Integrity Unit for validation and review. The SSA matching process is approved and NJ is planning to implement in FFY2014. In addition to the new validation process, we will also receive information on deceased and incarcerated individuals Currently, the DCA Income Integrity Unit is checking SSNs that are reported by the agencies.

New York: New York State will verify applicant and household member incomes in FFY 2013 for households not in receipt of recurring TA, SNAP or Code A SSI in accordance with the procedures in the New York State HEAP Manual. Applicants defined as "new" (did not receive HEAP in previous year through the application process, or moved to a different county since last year's application) will be required to provide paystubs, award letters or other forms of income documentation. Self-employment income may be documented with the most recently filed itemized federal tax forms or by providing documentation of funds received and expenses for the three months prior to the month of application.

Returning applicants will be required to provide documentation of earned income (paystubs, employer statements, collateral contact, or other acceptable forms of written documentation, and self-employment income as described above) and must declare all other income sources. Non-earned income amounts are compared against the previous year to determine if there have been changes that now require documentation. NY implemented a real time data match with the Department of Labor to obtain UIB (unemployment insurance) data.

Pennsylvania: In FY 2011, PA required applicants to provide documentation of the amounts and sources of income of household members including related roomers, as well as that of anyone in the household who received LIHEAP benefits during the current program year as a member of another household, and will continue to do so in FY 2012. Additionally, PA verified income via the Income Eligibility (IEVS) and PA Dept. of Labor & Industry data files (including new hires). Additionally, PA has contracted with the TALX (Work Number) earned income verification service.

Vermont: ACCESS (state benefits database that includes applicants and recipients for SNAP, TANF, Medicare, Medicaid, LIHEAP, Vermont healthcare and pharmacy programs and Child Support) contains verified income from all sources (earned and unearned) for benefit programs including SNAP, TANF, Medicare, Medicaid, Vermont healthcare and pharmacy programs, State General and Emergency Assistance.

Monthly tape matches run by ACCESS with Vermont Unemployment Compensation and employment earnings reported through Reach Up (Vermont's TANF program) provide the bulk of income information related to new hires.

Both seasonal and crisis fuel assistance policies allow workers to require documentation of income or any other factor related to eligibility that may be questionable, incomplete or not available through ACCESS.

Virginia: VA does not use the state Directory of New Hires. If the household member is a current PA (Public Assistance) recipient, the income used to determine eligibility for that program (SNAP, TANF or Medicaid) is used to determine EAP eligibility. (Income in the PA record has already been verified by a third party or TALX/the Work Number.) If the household member is not a current PA recipient, the income must be verified through 3rd party via pay stubs, employer verification, TALX/the Work Number, the VDSS Systems Partnering in a Demographic Repository (SPIDeR) system, etc.

Washington: We have access to a system that tracks income information. This is through the Department of Social and Health services. Cross-checking is limited to those clients that currently receive services such as TANF/Food Assistance. We also have the ability to receive income data through the Washington State Employment Security Department for applicants who claim no income or are collecting unemployment benefits. We have an agreement with the local SSA office to access SS income information with the agency. Sub-grantees may also access services provided by "The Work Number" which contains income data for earned wages. This resource is limited to employers that participate in the Work Number system.

Utah: All applicants for HEAT assistance must provide proof of all income, such as pay stubs or earnings statements, award letters, bank statements (direct deposits) etc, for all adult household members prior to determining eligibility. Further, the HEAT program also cross checks the E-Share database to confirm income such as TANF, General Assistance, Unemployment Insurance, etc. Besides the above, the HEAT program will be able to also cross-check E-Shares statewide Wage database for earned income.