4211 Included Members - The following individuals living in the household must be included in the food assistance household even if they claim they do not customarily purchase and prepare a majority (over 50%) of meals together for home composition:


  1. Children under 18 years of age under the parental control of a member of the household. Foster children and children in the permanent guardian subsidy program under 18 years of age under the parental control of a member of the household shall be treated as boarders per 4220 unless the household requests that the foster children be included as household members.

  2. A child age 18 - 21 living with a parent (natural, adoptive, or step), including when the child also lives with his or her spouse or his or her children and they purchase and prepare meals separately;

  3. A spouse of a member of the household.

    Spouses are considered to be living together even when one spouse is away from home for purposes of employment or education/training, provided they return home at least one day a month.

  4. A parent (biological, adoptive, or step) who lives with a child 21 years of age or younger. The parent shall not be included if parental rights have been severed or terminated by court action and he or she purchases and prepares meals separately and otherwise qualifies for separate household status.

NOTE: See the definition of spouse in Definition of Common Terms, Appendix item X-6.
NOTE: The boyfriend father of an unborn child shall not be considered a parent for the purposes of this provision until the child is born. Therefore, if the mother and boyfriend father claim that they separately purchase and prepare their meals, the boyfriend father does not have to be included on the food assistance case of the mother (provided there are no other mutual children). When the baby is born, the boyfriend father must be included on the case the month following the month the newborn is included on the food assistance case. This will allow time to gather needed income information, etc regarding the father.


NOTE: Joint Custody Situations - In situations of joint custody where a child resides with each parent within a calendar month, and both parents are applying for food assistance, the parent who has the primary responsibility for exercising parental control, and for the purchase and preparation of over 50% of the child's meals, may apply and receive food assistance for that child if otherwise eligible.

Eligibility for food assistance for the child or children in joint custody (50-50) cannot be split between the separate parents and, therefore, both parents cannot receive benefits for the same child for the same month. If neither parent can be shown to be the parent with whom the child resides and purchases and prepares meals a majority of the time (over 50%) and no other factor shows that one parent has the primary responsibility for the child, then the parents must designate which household will include the child. If the parents will not designate which household will include the child, then the parent who applied for assistance first will receive benefits for the child. If only one parent is applying for food assistance benefits in joint 50-50 situations, then the child(ren) are to be included in the food assistance household with that parent. This only applies in joint 50-50 situations where the child(ren) live in the home of each parent 50% of the time. If the only parent applying does not provide over 50% of the child’s meals, that parent cannot get assistance at all for the children. No additional statements from either of the parents regarding the living or eating arrangements of the children should be requested as they are not needed to provide assistance to the children in a joint custody situation when only one parent is requesting assistance.