What’s family income?

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Household income can be defined in different ways and includes all gross amounts earned or collected by household members. It can be challenging to define a household or determine what money is income. Various types of income can be considered, and income information is used in statistical reports or requested for government aid or credit applications. Exceptions include teens who don’t earn much money and individuals who don’t share the responsibility of repaying loans. People who don’t earn money may still need to report household income for student financial aid or welfare benefits.

Household income can be defined in two different ways and is subject to a number of exceptions. Primarily, this income is the sum of all gross amounts earned or collected by household members, and may include income earned by adolescents, although this is not always the case. This income may be earned by one person or several, and information about it is used in various statistical reports, or may be requested from individuals when they apply for things like government aid or credit.

It can be challenging to define what constitutes a household or to determine what money is defined as income. A household is not always all the people who live in the same house. In most cases, roommates do not pool their resources, and do not have a financial obligation to support each other. Theoretically, a large household with ten roommates could generate ten separate family income reports, one for each unrelated individual.

On the other hand, household income does not necessarily have to be income from people who are related. A couple who decide to care for an elderly woman may need to count any income she brings in if combined with theirs. In the end, the way people decide what their household income is has to do with whether they share the money.

There may be some notable exceptions. A teen who doesn’t earn a lot of money usually doesn’t contribute to the household income. Various regions may define this differently, but unless the teen’s income is directly combined with the parent’s income or is very large, it is generally not included.

There are several types of income that can be considered. Money earned from a job is matched against sources of income such as Social Security, interest income, retirement pay, or unemployment. Whenever household income information is required, people may need to find out what counts and what doesn’t, and this could differ depending on who requests the income report.

A slightly different definition of household income can confuse things. For many credit and loan applications, people are asked to report this income. In these cases, it usually means wages or other verifiable funds that are reported by the top earners and individuals jointly applying for any type of loan. In this situation, it is not appropriate to report the income of anyone who does not share the responsibility of repaying the loan, such as the elderly caregiver or the person who earns money. Only those people who will be primary borrowers report income.

People who don’t earn money may still need to know their household income to apply for things like student financial aid or welfare benefits. A teen mother living at home may need to report her parent’s income to qualify for welfare, and if that income is high, she may not qualify. Similarly, most student aid applications ask dependent students to list personal and family or household income.

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