75. Can homeless people get a deduction for shelter expenses?
To coin a phrase, “Yes, we can!”
California has opted to allow homeless people to receive a “homeless shelter deduction” instead of the regular excess shelter deduction. [MPP § 63-502.351.] The homeless shelter deduction allows people who are homeless, and who expect to spend, or have spent any amount of money on shelter, to deduct a flat $143 from their gross monthly income. [7 C.F.R. § 273.9(d)(6)(i); MPP § 63-502.351.]
Among the significant changes to the Food Stamp Program as a result of the Food Stamp Reauthorization Act of 2002, was simplification of the homeless shelter deduction, at least somewhat, by setting the amount of the deduction at $143 and eliminating the need for state agencies to justify to FNS the amount of their homeless shelter deduction. [7 U.S.C. § 2014(e)(6)(D).] At least 24 states have chosen to use the homeless shelter deduction. [See FNS Food Stamp Program State Options Report (7th edition: November 2007).]
No proof is required before or after the fact. [MPP § 63-502.353.] If the person gets the homeless shelter deduction, no utility cost is allowed (such as a “telephone utility allowance”). [MPP § 63-502.351.]
If the household spent more than the standard deduction, and can show it, then it can deduct the higher amount (i.e., towards the excess shelter deduction). [MPP § 63-502.353, ACIN I-73-04 (October 13, 2004) (see answer to question 8).]