A. Residency Requirement (I.C. 12-20-8)
Poor relief applicants must physically reside in the township to which they apply (except for situations of emergency affecting applicants who are temporarily in the township for reasons other than poor relief). It is not necessary to live in a particular township for any specific length of time. However, to be eligible for assistance, an applicant must have established a household within the township. The household must not have been established for the primary purpose of qualifying for poor relief assistance (I.C. 12-20-8-3). Therefore, in order to verify an applicant’s residency and their intent to live permanently in the township, the Trustee will consider the conduct of the applicant, both active and passive, as may reveal an intent to reside within a given household and within his respective township. Items which will be used to establish residency include mailing address, driver’s license, motor vehicle registration, State picture I.D., voter’s registration, telephone listing, utility billings, address given to others, change of address notices via the U.S. Postal Services; a secured lease; the location of the previous residency and how the household was supported there; the means of transportation which brought the household to this township and how it was paid; invitations or promised assistance from relatives, friends, or social service agencies; or any other documentation requested by the township. (I.C. 12-20-8-3).
The definition of “household” will not be construed to mean temporary living arrangements made available by friends, relatives, acquaintances, or public or private social service agencies. Household is defined as simply an individual or as a group of people who share the same living quarters with common entrance to the housing unit, as well as a common kitchen/dining area.
A residence legally acquired continues until the legal residence is lost by acquiring a new legal residence or by willful and uninterrupted absence from the township in which legal residence has been gained.
An individual may not be considered to have lost legal residence in Indiana because of an absence that is due to business of the State or of the United States (I.C. 12-20-8-6).
Time spent in a penal institution, public or private charitable or benevolent institution, hospital, fraternal home, or in any place while serving in the armed forces of the U.S. are not counted in determining legal residence (I.C. 12-20-8-5).
Individuals in the U.S. without permission of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) are ineligible to receive poor relief assistance (I.C. 12-20-8). Aliens must be in the country legally and hold a valid Green Card issued by the INS.
In cases of emergency, the township may provide temporary assistance to applicants who are temporarily in the township unless the applicant is specifically in the township for poor relief assistance. (This should not be interpreted or construed to mean that individuals residing in adjoining townships may come to the larger, urban township for assistance.) The township in which they presently reside is still obligated to investigate the circumstances of the distressed person(s) and render whatever assistance is necessary. Consequently, Fairfield Township will also refer individuals in this category to the appropriate township. If a non-resident applicant or household member is a child, the parent of a child requiring the parent’s care, or is sick, aged, injured, crippled, or physically or mentally unable to work or travel, the township trustee will furnish poor relief assistance to the individual until the individual can be returned to the place of the individual’s legal residence (I.C. 12-20-9-2). If an applicant or household member is determined to be eligible for poor relief and entitled to temporary emergency relief and is present in a township in which he/she does not have legal residence, the Trustee may, if he considers it advisable, place the individual temporarily in the county home, where the individual, if capable, is to be employed (I.C. 12-20-17-4).
If the Township Trustee is unable to ascertain and establish the place of legal residence of an individual requesting assistance, the Trustee will proceed to provide assistance in the same manner as other individuals are provided assistance (I.C. 12-20-8-7).
Unemancipated youths are ineligible to apply for poor relief assistance.
B. Evidence of Need (I.C. 12-20-5.5-6)
Once residency is established, the Trustee will relieve and support the individual, if the individual is eligible and in need. Households requesting poor relief assistance must show financial need. Any monetary amount paid to an applicant or a member of an applicant’s household for the thirty (30) days before the date of application for poor relief, or accrued and legally available for withdrawal by an applicant or a member of an applicant’s household at the time of application or for up to thirty (30) days after the date of application for poor relief will generally be used in calculating a household’s financial need. When the applicant’s or household member’s countable income has ceased or been reduced, the Trustee will determine eligibility by using any remaining unspent income and the expected income for the next thirty (30) days. Applicant households are required to report any “one time” monetary benefits, awards, or settlements received within ninety (90) days immediately preceding application for poor relief (I.C. 12-20-6-1, I.C. 12-7-2-44.7).
Countable income includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(1) Net wages after current tax deductions.
(2) Social Security benefits, including Supplemental Security Income.
(3) Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).
(4) Unemployment compensation.
(5) Worker’s compensation (except that which is restricted for the payment of medical expenses).
(6) Vacation pay.
(7) Sick benefits.
(8) Strike benefits.
(9) Private or public pensions.
(10) Taxable income from self-employment.
(11) Bartered goods and services provided by another individual for the payment of nonessential needs on behalf of an applicant or an applicant’s household , if monetary compensation or the provision of basic necessities would have been reasonably available from that individual.
(12) Child support, GAP support, or alimony.
(13) Gifts of cash, goods, or services.
(14) Severance pay.
(15) State and federal income tax refunds.
(16) Interest on bank accounts, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, or similar assets.
(17) Educational grants or loans for secondary or higher education at an approved institution of higher learning, to the extent that they are used for basic living expenses.
(18) Disability payment from any source.
(19) The monetary value of subsidized housing, utility, or child care (provided by another governmental agency).
(20) Other sources of revenue that the trustee may reasonably determine to be countable income, including “one time” monetary benefits, awards or settlements received within the ninety (90) days immediately preceding the application for poor relief assistance. One time monetary awards may include, but are not limited to the following: energy assistance payments, retroactive Social Security payments, workman’s compensation, inheritances, pensions, insurance settlements, and federal and state income tax returns. Any of these monies received will undergo evaluation the same as the 30 days prior income.
Note: The following sources of income will be exempt from countable income in calculating eligibility for poor relief: the monetary value of food stamp assistance, assistance for basic needs provided by charitable organizations or other non-governmental organizations; educational grants and loans for secondary or higher education at an approved institution of higher learning (as defined under I.C. 20-12-21-3) or for a job training program, to the extent they are used for tuition, books, fees, supplies, child care, uniforms, and transportation among other expenses provided for in connection with the education.
Households requesting assistance will be required to report all assets belonging to any household members. Upon request of the Township Trustee, a person holding assets or title to assets of a poor relief applicant or household member will provide the Trustee with information concerning the nature and value of those assets for purposes of determining the household’s financial eligibility to receive poor relief. Assets (non-basic or non-essential) which may affect eligibility are those which are available to the household, but are not considered necessary for the health, safety, or decent living standard of a household; and are owned wholly or in part by members of the household; and those (assets) that the member has the legal right to sell or liquidate; and that include all real property other than that used for the production of income or is the primary residence of the applicant.
Countable assets which may affect an applicant’s eligibility for poor relief assistance may include, but are not necessarily limited to the
following: (I.C. 12-7-2-44.6, I.C. 12-20-7-3.5).
(1) Motorcycles or similar modes of transportation
(2) Boats, boat motors, or boat trailers
(3) VCR’s, cam recorders
(5) Guns or hunting equipment
(6) Camping trailers, recreation vehicles
(8) Non-basic telephone services (caller I.D., call waiting & forwarding, etc.) and accessories (including answering machines and cellular phones)
(9) Cable television service and satellite dishes or service
(10) More than one automobile or an expensive automobile make/model
(11) Any other item of value which the trustee may determine to be a non-essential asset
All liquid assets such as bank accounts, stocks, bonds,401K plans, retirement plans certificates of deposit, non-basic telephone service, television cable service of any kind, leasing of non-essential household items, etc. must be liquidated immediately and any proceeds used for current basic needs. This may be verified before any assistance will be granted.
All members of the household will be expected to liquidate any non-essential assets (i.e., recreational equipment, boats, motors, camping trailers, guns, other hunting equipment, motorcycles, CAM recorders, VCRs, jewelry, etc.) as soon as possible, but no longer than thirty (30) days from the date the initial application is filed. The township highly recommends, or may even insist, the termination of any and all credit cards.
Assets considered exempt from liquidation include one house or mobile home in which the household resides and one automobile, which the value or equity does not preclude the household from qualifying for state or federal assistance programs, or other property that produces income.
The trustee has set income standards consistent with the reasonable cost of basic necessities in his particular township and these are used to define financial eligibility (I.C. 12-20-5.5-6).
Basic necessities include those items or services essential to meet the minimum standards of health, safety, and decency and include
(2) Essential utility services (see definition on page 10).
(4) Medical care (described in I.C. 12-20-16-2).
(5) Clothing and footwear.
(6) Household essentials (see definition on page 5).
(7) Transportation to seek and accept employment (on a reasonable basis).
(8) Other services or items the Township Trustee determines are necessities (I.C. 12-7-2-20.5). (See pages 3 to 11 for the definitions of all basic necessities).
As part of the application process, applicants are required to provide a listing of all income expended in the last thirty (30) days. Only expenditures for basic necessities will be recognized as legitimate (i.e., expended income). Expenditures for items other than basic necessities will be considered the same as unexpended income. Applicants and household members will be required to provide current receipts for all expended funds to verify how income was spent. Only receipts and expenditures for basic necessities will be recognized (I.C. 12-7-2-200.5). An automobile and auto related expenditures (repairs), cable television service, non- basic telephone services, telephone accessories, court costs and related expenses due to criminal behavior are included in, but is not limited to, items considered non- basic or non-essential. Therefore, expenditures for these items are not recognized as legitimate expenses or justifiable expenditures and will be subtracted from the township income eligibility standards listed below. The difference will be the maximum total poor relief payable on behalf of the household. It will be presumed that the spending of income for non-essential items within thirty (30) days of the date of applying to the Trustee for assistance was done in contemplation of or for the purpose of seeking and obtaining township assistance.
In cases where the household had been able to afford a non-basic item and a sudden loss of income due to no willful negligent act of the applicant or household member occurs, then that amount will not be subtracted from the amount of eligibility. If the maximum poor relief payable is greater than the actual amount of the household’s unmet basic need, the amount payable will be the amount for the unmet basic need.
Applicants for all poor relief assistance, who are otherwise eligible, will only be eligible if the total gross household income for the thirty (30) days prior to application is less than the following standards (based on the number of persons living in the household):
1…………………………………………………………….. $ 1,216
(Each additional member + $423/mos.)
Deductions allowed: 1) medical costs for elderly (60 and older) and/or disabled household members; 2) documented court-ordered child support payments; and 3) 50% of documented dependent care. The monthly income of seasonably employed individuals (construction workers, bus drivers, etc.) will be determined by dividing the total income for the prior twelve (12) months by twelve (12) (I.C. 12-20-5.5, I.C. 12-7-2-44.7).
Exceptional financial obligations, emergencies, and/or extraordinary expenses or circumstances, as are determined, documented, and approved by the Trustee, may give justification to temporarily waive the income guidelines. Extraordinary circumstances is a one time waiver for an over income guidelines household.