Working and Income

This section shows how to gather and verify work and income information from the applicant.

Defining working

What qualifies as working is not defined in federal law. Instead, Lead Agencies must define what activities constitute working.

OCC recommends including a broad range of activities in your definition of working, with no minimum number of work hours required for eligibility purposes. Make sure to clearly state what activities are considered as working in your application.


Defining income

Lead Agencies must determine what to include in their calculation of family income and what to exclude. Often, reporting and proving income is the most burdensome part of the child care assistance application. To reduce this burden, OCC recommends that Lead Agencies simplify their definition of income by,

  • Including: Earned income, which is money received from employment or self-employment
  • Excluding: Money from public benefit programs and child support

What information should I capture?

For earned income, applicants often work multiple jobs, including non-traditional jobs such as self-employment, part-time, seasonal or contract work. As such, their income may fluctuate week-to-week. It is important to build flexibility into your application form to capture these various types of earned income for individuals that work.

Verifying employment and employment income, including self-employed individuals

To verify income from full- or part-time employment with an employer, Lead Agencies should accept the following forms of proof:

  • Digital or paper copies of pay stubs that are most representative of the family’s income. This includes,
    • Allowing families to submit non-consecutively dated pay stubs
    • Allowing families to submit pay stubs from any time period in the last 3-6 months
    • To reduce burden, Lead Agencies should not require more than a month’s worth of pay stubs from this period. However, if a family would like to submit more than a month’s worth of pay stubs to more accurately demonstrate income fluctuations, they should be allowed to.
  • A letter from an employer that includes information about income
  • Tax returns, W2s, or other wage statements
  • Bank statements that demonstrate income
  • Any other documentation that reasonably establishes income

To verify income from self-employment, independent contracts, gig work, or other non-traditional work arrangements, Lead Agencies:

  • Accept the following forms of proofs:
    • Tax returns, 1099s, or other wage statements
    • Contracts that demonstrate income
    • Payment receipts for services rendered
    • Bank statements that demonstrate income
    • Profit/loss statements, or self-employment ledgers
    • Any other documentation that reasonably establishes self-employment income
  • When documentation cannot be provided to prove self-employment income, allow applicants to self-certify by providing a signed and dated statement that includes a description of their work, and amount of income earned in the past month.

OCC recommends Lead Agencies use the same documentation that is used to verify income to verify that a person is currently working. For example screens to collect this verification documentation, see Documentation Upload.


Example application screens

Ask whether an applicant is currently working, If YES, capture information about each job, with an option to add multiple jobs

If NO, ask if an applicant is currently searching for work