Getting Started Guide

How do I answer questions about income?

To determine your eligibility for health insurance and help paying costs (this includes ConnectorCare plans and Advance Premium Tax Credits from the Health Connector  or low- or no-cost coverage from MassHealth, the Children’s Medical Security Plan (CMSP), or the Health Safety Net (HSN)), the Health Connector must collect information about your household’s income.

All members of the household who are applying for help paying for health or dental insurance will be asked to provide information about their projected and current income. The responses to the questions in the income section should be completed as directed in this guide.

Income sources to include:

For each of the following sources, make your best estimate for what your income will be in 2018.

  • Wages
  • Salaries
  • Tips
  • Net income from any self-employment or business
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Social Security payments, including disability payments
  • Alimony
  • Any other taxable income such as retirement income, investment income, pension income, rental income, prizes, awards, and gambling winnings

Do NOT include the following as income:

  • Child support
  • Gifts
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Veterans’ disability payments
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Proceeds from loans (such as student loans, home equity loans, or bank loans)

Do not include any money that an employer takes out of your paycheck such as:

  • Child care
  • Health insurance
  • Retirement plans

These “not taxable” items should be listed explicitly on your paycheck.

Please be sure to double-check that the information you have entered is correct. There is a summary page at the end of the Income section of the application where you can review your information.

Calculating your Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI)

To help figure out your annual Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) income for 2018, we have provided the calculator below. Please note that the all sources of income you expect to receive in 2018 must be considered. For example, if you are a seasonal employee and expects to collect unemployment during certain months of the year, you should include the expected unemployment income in the total income.

Step 1: Add all of your income

Taxable Wages/Salary/Tips (before taxes are taken out)
Pre-tax contributions to dependent care accounts, health insurance premiums, flexible spending accounts, retirement accounts and commuter expenses are NOT included as income.

Help Text

Self-employment (profit once business expenses are paid)

Social Security benefits (taxable and non-taxable)
Don’t include Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

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Unemployment benefits

Alimony received

Retirement benefits (taxable IRA distributions, pensions, and annuities)

Interest (including tax-exempt interest)

Net Capital Gains (profit after subtracting capital losses)

Dividends

Rental or Royalty Income (profit after subtracting costs)

Other taxable income
Such as canceled debts, court awards, jury duty pay not given to an employer, cash support, and gambling, prizes, or awards or farm income. Also include taxable refunds, credits or offsets of local or state income taxes.

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Foreign earned income

Total Income
Note: This is the total income amount automatically calculated from the all the income you entered above.

$0.00

Step 2: Add all deductions that are allowed to be deducted on your federal income tax return

Self-employment business expenses
Most deductions for self-employed business expenses are included in net income (the profit once business expenses are paid) but additional deductions can be taken for the deductible part of self-employment tax, self-employed SEP, SIMPLE, and qualified plans, and self-employed health insurance deductions.

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Portion of interest on student loans
May be able to deduct a portion of the interest they expect to pay on a qualified student loan. Box 1 of the 1098-E Form shows the interest paid for the prior year, which may be helpful in projecting student loan interest that will be paid during the year

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Alimony paid

IRA deduction

Tuition and fees

Health savings account contributions

Penalties on early withdrawal of savings

Certain business expenses of performing artists, reservists, and fee-basis government officials

Moving expenses related to a job change

Domestic Production Activities deduction

Total Deductions
Note: This is the total deduction amount automatically calculated from the all the deductions you entered above.

$0.00

Step 3: Subtract Total Deductions from Total Income

Total Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI)
Note: This is an estimate based on what you entered above.

$0.00

How to answer questions about your current income

The question “Does FIRST NAME LAST NAME have any income?” should be answered for the MONTH you are completing your application.  If you—and any household members included on your application—has any current income (such as income from a job, self-employment,  or other source), the answer should be “Yes”.

If you answer the question by selecting  “No”, click “Save and Continue” to move to the next page.

A screenshot of the do you have any income question

Answer this question based on your current income.

If you answer the question by selecting  “Yes”, the next question on the screen will ask what types of income you have. You can check all the boxes that apply and then click “Save and Continue” to move to the next page and answer questions about the type(s) of income you checked.

Screenshot of eleven income types to choose from

Check all income types that apply to you.

Income Frequency

Take care to note that the income amount has the right frequency (how often you receive the income). The table below includes frequency choices and descriptions you will need to know as you are filling out your income information.

Frequency Description
One time only This means income you expect to receive only once in the year. For example, jury duty pay, a one-time bonus payment, or a one-time contract that was completed. If you choose this option, you would need to select which month you received the income.
Weekly This means you receive the amount of income you enter once each week.
Every two weeks This means you receive the amount of income you enter every 2 weeks (or every other week). This is also known as bi-weekly.
Twice a month This means you receive the amount of income you enter twice a month, usually on a certain schedule, like the 1st and 3rd Friday of the month, or the 1st and 15th day of the month.
Monthly This means you receive the amount of income you enter once a month.
Every other month This means you receive the amount of income you enter every 2 months. For example, if you are paid in January, you will skip February, and won’t be paid again until March.
Quarterly This means you receive the amount of income you enter every 3 months (or a total of 4 times per year.) For example, if you are paid in January, you will skip February and March, and won’t be paid again until April.
Twice a year This means you receive the amount of income you enter 2 times within the entire year (or every 6 months, for example in January and July).
Yearly This means the amount of income you enter is the total amount you received from that source for the entire year. You can select this option even if you receive a steady income at a different frequency, such as weekly, but prefer just to enter your whole yearly (or annual) income from a source, if you know it.
Seasonally This means you receive the amount of income you enter only certain parts of the year (during a season, such as a summer job, for example). If you choose this option, you would need to select which month(s) you received the income.

Enter your income information

Click on an income type below for help answering the question on your application.

Job Income

If you have income from a job now, you will be asked to provide employment information that includes

  • The name and address of your current employer.
  • The amount of income you receive from your job before taxes are taken out. This is your gross income. (Allowable deductions from income will be asked later in the application.)
  • How often you get the amount of income you entered (see information about Frequency above).
  • The number of hours you work per week.
  • If the income received is a Sheltered Workshop, select “Yes”. A sheltered workshop is a supervised workplace for physically or mentally disabled adults.
Screenshot of job income questions and required information

If you work at more than one job, click the “Add Another” button to add another employer.

Self-Employment Income

If you have income from self-employment, you will need to enter details about that income that includes

  • The type of work you do,
  • Your average monthly income, and
  • The number of hours you work per week.
Screenshot of self-employment income questions

Provide a short description of the job or the name of the company. For example: “Housecleaner” or “Happy Housekeeping”. When you enter your income, provide the NET average MONTHLY income after you subtract business expenses.

Generally, you are self-employed if any of the following apply to you:

  • You carry on a trade or business as a sole-proprietor or an independent contractor;
  • You are a member of a partnership that carries on a trade or business; or
  • You are otherwise in business for yourself (including a part-time business)

Depending on the type of self-employment, you may have income listed on line 12 or line 17 of your federal income tax return Form 1040.

If you are not sure how to calculate self-employment income, use the calculator above. Your self-employment income is the net profit once business expenses are paid. Learn about self-employment income from the IRS (PDF) →

Social Security Benefits Income

If you receive  income from Social Security retirement, disability, or survivors benefits (SSDI or RSDI), you will need to enter the amount of gross income you receive. This should be the amount received before any deductions (like Medicare premiums or other deductions) are taken out. Do not include Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Screenshot of social security benefits income questions

Unemployment Income

If you have income from Unemployment, you will need to enter the current gross unemployment income (the amount before taxes are taken out) that should be available on your award letter or most recent unemployment stub.

Screenshot of unemployment income questions

Retirement or Pension Income

If you have income from a retirement account or pension, you will need to enter the gross income received from a retirement or pension before taxes are taken out.

Screenshot of Retirement or Pension income questions

Capital Gains Income

If you receive income from capital gains, you will need to enter information about that income received for the current month  AND for the year. See below:

Screenshot of capital gains income questions
  1. Provide the Net Capital Gains after losses are taken out for THIS MONTH.
  2. Provide the Net Capital Gains after losses are taken out THIS YEAR.

Interest, Dividends, or Other Investment Income

If you receive income from investments (or multiple investment sources), you will need to combine it and include it here. Investments include income from the following sources:

  • Interest (including tax-exempt interest)
  • Ordinary dividends
  • Trust

Add together all of the investment amounts and provide the total investment income.

Screenshot of interest dividends and investment income questions

Rental or Royalty Income

If you receive income from rental or royalties, provide the amount received from rental or royalty income after you take out costs. Income from rental or royalty is usually included on the Federal Income Tax Return – Line 17 of the 1040 and Schedule E.

Screenshot of rental or royalty income questions

Farming or Fishing Income

If receive income from Farming or Fishing, enter your the income earned from farming or fishing that has not already been included on other parts of this application.

Screenshot of farming or fishing income questions

Provide the frequency based on the amount earned.

Alimony Received

If you have alimony income you receive from someone else, you will need to enter the amount you receive. You can find this on line 11 of Form 1040. Do not include alimony you pay someone.

Screenshot of alimony received questions

Provide the frequency based on the amount received.

Other Income

If you receive income from other sources, you can enter information about those sources here. Other income includes taxable income from the following sources:

  • Canceled debts
  • Court awards
  • Jury duty pay not given to an employer
  • Cash support
  • Gambling, prizes, or awards
  • Taxable refunds, credits, or offsets of local or state income taxes

Please also include Foreign earned income.

Screenshot of other income questions

If you have income from other sources, indicate the types. If you select “Other” provide the in the text box. Do not include income that you have already listed on other parts of this application.

The amount you enter should be the total amount of income from other sources you listed above.

Provide the frequency based on the amount earned. If the frequency for multiple sources is different, you can enter the total and enter it as yearly (annually).

Current Income Details

The “Current Income Details” screen lists the person’s current monthly income based on information entered on the previous screens. The monthly income will be used to calculate eligibility for MassHealth, Health Safety Net (HSN), and Children’s Medical Security Plan (CMSP).

 

Total Income Screenshot

 

Deductions

Certain deductions can lower the income used to calculate eligibility.  You should ONLY include deductions that are allowed to be deducted on your federal income tax return. Allowable deductions on the federal income tax return include the following:

  • Educator expenses
  • Certain business expenses of reservists, performing artists, and fee-basis government officials
  • Health savings account deduction
  • Moving expenses
  • Deductible part of self-employment tax
  • Self-employed SEP, SIMPLE, and qualified plans
  • Self-employed health insurance deduction
  • Penalty on early withdrawal of savings
  • Alimony paid
  • IRA deduction
  • Student loan interest deduction
  • Tuition and fees
  • Domestic production activities deduction

 

Income Deductions Screenshot

Income Discrepancies

If there is a difference between the total current income provided on the application and the available data we will ask the applicant to provide a reason for the discrepancy.  This section does not impact eligibility. If verification is required, we will ask for documents at the end of the application.

 

Income Discrepancies Screenshot

 

Income Summary

The information on the Income Summary will list all income received for the members of the household.

If there is monthly income available, monthly will be shown. If there is no monthly income, the projected annual income will be shown.

 

Income Summary Screenshot

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014|Tags: |