Note: This FAQ relates to HMIS, CoC


How does HUD define employment income?

Date Published: August 2015

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For the purpose of defining employment income for reporting in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), HUD relies on the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) definition of wages, salaries, tips, and business income. The IRS requires people to report all income received from a business, unless it is excluded by law, and any income paid as compensation for employment. The income may come in regular increments (e.g., through a regular paycheck for a full- or part-time job) or be paid in irregular increments (e.g., for day labor or occasional contract work like construction). It is important to note that the employment income is collected as a monthly income amount. Irregular increment payments should only be included in they are received with some frequency. For instance, if a homeless person does regular seasonal work the worker should try to assess what that amount would be per month over the year. Recipients should include income from sources even if it is not reported to the IRS (i.e., under the table work).  

In the event that a person is receiving an education or employment stipend to cover the cost of living, the amount of money associated with those living costs should be counted as employment income. This would not include the cost of paying for school related expenses (for an education stipend) or business expenses, like uniforms or tools (for employment stipends). Money received from tax refunds, including the earned income tax credit, should not be counted as employment income.

This definition of employment income is intended to assist persons entering data into HMIS in determining what employment income means. For the purpose of reporting, HUD does not require documentation that verifies employment income, such as tax documentation. This response is not intended to answer every question regarding all possible sources of income. Rather, this response is intended to provide persons entering income data into HMIS with the basic parameters and guidelines whereby they can decide how to characterize various income sources that their clients present with.  

Please note that this guidance is limited to HMIS data entry only and does not replace or supersede any income eligibility requirements, including documentation a particular program may require and does not relate to rent calculation income or documentation. For further information about income eligibility requirements, recipients should refer to the regulations and guidance documents for the program funds that they are receiving.

Tags: Data - General CoC Program Administration - General HMIS CoC