Income that Doesn’t Count toward Your Eligibility Income

There are some income types that will never be counted, according to the handbook.

Income that is not considered toward your household total, for eligibility purposes, includes:

  • capital gains or insurance payments under health, money gifts of money or lump sum inheritances, accident or worker’s compensation policies
  • Earned income of a minor
  • student financial aid
  • Section 8 housing vouchers
  • money for forst care children or foster adults live in home 
  • Employer-provided fringe benefit packages, even if displayed on the applicants’ pay statements

Lenders can help potential buyers find deductions for their annual income to meet the eligibility requirements, Tromels says.“Some people do benefit from these deductions,” he says.  “The handbook shows many various examples in the handbook.”


What Counts as Income According to USDA?

As for income eligibility though, the government counts income from all adults in the household (those 18 and over) — not just parties who are signing the loan — must be included in the annual income for eligibility purposes, according to the USDA guaranteed loan handbook.

For instance, the Social Security checks received by your mother-in-law who lives with you will also go towards that income. You also will have to count up to the first $480 of earnings for your son or daughter (who is 18 or older) and is a full-time college student even though they live away from home temporarily during the year.

Other income that is counted can include:

  • Employee housing or automobile expense allowances
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Pension/retirement income
  • Military and self-employed income
  • Alimony/child support
  • Rental income
  • Alimony/child support
  • Disability/social security checks

USDA Income Geographic Differences

Being approved as income-eligible can be tricky because so many things are included in the figure. Plus, the income limits are different depending on where you live. Let’s start with two examples of the difference in income limits from opposite sides of the country.

If you were looking to buy a house in the rural areas of Buffalo, N.Y., with a USDA moderate guaranteed loan and a four-person household, you could have an income of $77,850. For families of five or more, that figures goes up to $102,750.

If you travel across the U.S. to an expensive area of San Jose, Calif., the four-person household income limit is $122,050 and jumps to $161,100 for five or more people.

Moderate income typically means you make 115 percent or less of the median income for your geographic region. As a basic example, if families average $50,000 per year in  your area, your family can make up to $57,500 per year and still be eligible.

Income limits vary widely and tend to rise significantly around major metro areas.

The USDA website also details property eligibility in areas all across the country.

“You can punch in an actual property address – in case you were looking at a certain home – and submit the information. It will tell you if it’s in the USDA loan rural area. It’s pretty nifty,” Tremols says.



Income Eligibility Deductions for USDA

According to the USDA’s underwriting guidelines, the allowable deductions to determine an adjusted income can include

  • Total amount of medical expenses for any elderly family member that exceeds 3 percent of gross annual income
  • $480 for each disabled or handicapped individual who is not the applicant or co-applicant on the loan
  • $400 for each elderly (62 years of age or older) or disabled applicant
  • Actual cost of child care for children 12 years and younger with full documentation of cost
  • $480 for each full-time student 18 years or older
  • $480 for each minor child under 18

“People like this loan because there is no down payment, and there is 100 percent financing,” Tremols says. “They are all simple 30-year fixed loans with no balloons, no interest-only or adjusted interest rate.”


Look up your USDA Income Eligibility

USDA income eligibility is lenient considering deems eligible families making up to 115% of the typical income for the area. Prospective home buyers should check all the USDA requirements with an approved lender to see if they qualify


Differences in Income Eligibility and Qualifications 

Remember that your total household income for eligibility purposes could be different than your qualification income. For instance, a an elderly parent who will live in the home might have a job and earn income. For eligibility purposes her income counts, but you can’t count that income toward the income on your loan to help you qualify, unless the elderly parent is on the loan.


USDA Income Eligibility Guidelines and Maximum is available in the following areas/cities

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